No One Is Above the Law
November 9, 2018 4:49 PM   Subscribe

After Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned on Wednesday at Trump’s request (Washington Post), Trump installed loyalist Matthew Whittaker as Acting Attorney General (New York Times). Whitaker has a tangled history with the Mueller probe (NBC)—and a reputation as a crackpot (WaPo Opinion) and "a f*cking fool" (Daily Beast) who worked for scam firm that threatened victims with Krav Maga-style beatdowns (Vanity Fair), claimed judges should have a "biblical view of justice" (Des Moines Register), said he'd indict Hilary Clinton (USA Today), held a dark money–funded executive position at an anti-Clinton group (Slate), called the courts "the inferior branch" (NYT), and supported Trump Jr.'s Russia meeting (CNN). Legal experts are calling the appointment unconstitutional (Neal K. Katyal and George T. Conway III, NYT)… seriously, unconstitutional (John Yoo, Axios)… honestly, "Is he legally qualified to be the acting attorney general? No." (Andrew Napolitano, Fox News). Now Trump says “I don’t know Matt Whitaker,” despite several Oval Office visits (NYT), and telling Fox & Friends "I know Matt Whitaker." (CNN)

HEADLINE ROUNDUP:

• Trump vs. Mueller: ‘Protect Mueller’: Protesters across U.S. decry president’s dismissal of Sessions as attorney general (WaPo); If Trump Fires Mueller—How a Democratic-controlled House can salvage the Russia investigation (Marcy Wheeler, TNR); It’s Probably Too Late to Stop Mueller—The prospects for interference are dimmer than many imagine. (Benjamin Wittes, The Atlantic); How Mueller Could Defend the Russia Investigation From Interference (Natasha Bertrand, The Atlantic); In Thursday Hearing, Mueller’s Team Gets Specific About What They Can Do Without Whitaker’s Pre-Approval (EmptyWheel.net); Judges Order Mueller to Explain Impact of Sessions-Whitaker DoJ Shakeup (Politico)

• Trump vs. the Midterm Results: Despite the GOP losing seven governorships and 26 House seats (and counting), Trump touts "Big Victory" in midterm elections (CBS); US Intelligence Officials to Review Midterms For Signs of Foreign Interference (ABC); Trump Is Going To Escalate His Attacks On American Democracy Post-Election, No Matter Who Wins (Evan McMullin, NBC); Why Putin Isn’t Sweating the Midterms—The Kremlin strongman has invested in Trump because he’s disrupting the world order (and now looks stronger than his Western rivals at Macron’s WWI commemoration). (Politico)

• Trump vs. Enemies of the People Journalists: On Wednesday, Trump’s Press Conference Was Nutty, Self-Absorbed, and Full of Lies—The president dismissed the public’s election rebuke and stabbed his allies in the back. And that was just the start. (Slate); Sarah Sanders' attempted to smear White House–barred CNN reporter James Acosta by circulating obviously doctored video from InfoWars; the Washington Post's Greg Sargent asks, rhetorically, "How could the White House lie about something that's on video, where everyone can see what really happened? The answer is that the audacity of the White House's lying is *the whole point* of it. The lying is an *assertion of power.*"; The NYT's Melissa Chan, drawing from her experiences of having her press credentials denied by authoritarian China, warns her US-based colleagues—“this "most reporters are okay but @Acosta is aggressive" thing is the EXACT line Chinese propaganda printed about me. It's a tactic, people.”; and today was no different—Trump Unleashed: Best Bites From President’s Impromptu Press Conference (Talking Points Memo)

• Trump vs. the Caravan: Although Fox News and Trump seem to have lost interest in the caravan (Fast Company), he signed a proclamation barring asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border—sources said the proclamation was authored by senior policy adviser Stephen Miller (Daily Beast). Meanwhile, the Pentagon is no longer calling its border mission 'Operation Faithful Patriot', and soldiers will not be involved in denying border entry to migrants (CNN). As for the Trump administration's earlier family separation policy, 171 kids from separated families are still in custody. Most won't be reunited with their parents. (CNN)

IN OTHER HEADLINES:

Donald Trump Played Central Role in Hush Payoffs to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal—Federal prosecutors have gathered evidence of president’s participation in transactions that violated campaign-finance laws (@WSJ) "Trump was involved in or briefed on every step of the hush payments arranged by Michael Cohen, telling him of the Stormy Daniels payment in Oct. 2016, “Get it done,” according to Cohen’s testimony to prosecutors," says co-writer Rebecca Ballhaus.

• SCOTUS-related Round-up: Yesterday, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized after fracturing three ribs in a fall but has since been released. (MSNBC); Trump Joins Kavanaugh for Formal Supreme Court Investiture Ceremony (Bloomberg); Kavanaugh Accuser Christine Blasey Ford Continues Receiving Threats, Lawyers Say (NPR)

US Treasury Department Announces New Sanctions for Russian Activities in Crimea (CNBC) but the White House Is Letting Russian Ultra-Nationalist Dmitri Rogozin In to the U.S.—Despite Sanctions (WaPo)

Trump Administration Issues Rules Letting Some Employers Deny Contraceptive Coverage (WaPo) "The circumvention of this mandate, first proposed by Trump health officials a year ago, is part of the administration’s alliance with social conservatives for whom “religious liberty” has become a central cause and who had objected to the contraceptive mandate."

After Sessions, Who Will Trump Dump Next? (Politico); Trump Is Telling People He Wants to Replace Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross by the End of the Year (CNBC); Zinke Prepares to Leave Trump’s Cabinet (Politico) "Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has been exploring potential roles with Fox News, the energy industry or other businesses amid growing signs that he will leave President Donald Trump's Cabinet as he faces investigations into his ethics, according to people knowledgeable about the discussions."

If the Midterms Were a Test of the Country’s Character, Americans Failed (Sarah Kendzior, Toronto Globe and Mail) "We did not repudiate racism and hate en masse. We did not restore dignity and decency to the electoral process by ensuring the integrity of the vote.[…] This is a small but significant victory – not enough to stave off autocracy, but perhaps enough to slow it, and certainly enough to lay the groundwork for future change."

• Horserace/Invisible Primary: 2020 Presidential Candidates Who Could Take On Trump (Politico)

Today is the 658th day of the Trump administration. There are 724 days left until the 2020 elections.

Previously in U.S. Politics Megathreads: "You know what I am? I'm a [] nationalist."

Megathread-Adjacent Posts and Sites: ANGER IS AN ENERGY (US Election Day); Fiat Lux! (CA ballots and elections); OnceUponATime's Active Measures site; and Chrysostom's 2018 Election Ratings & Results Tracker

Elsewhere in MetaFilter: On MeTa, what Mefites are doing to improve things; and on AskMe, nonpolitical volunteering from home.

As always, please consider MeFi chat and the unofficial PoliticsFilter Slack for hot-takes and live-blogging breaking news, the current MetaTalk venting thread for catharsis and sympathizing, and funding the site if you're able. Also, for the sake of the ever-helpful mods, please keep in mind the MetaTalk on expectations about U.S. political discussion on MetaFilter. Thanks to box and Chrysostom for their help creating this post. U.S. Politics FPPs are generally collaborative, and a draft post can usually found on the MeFi Wiki.
posted by Doktor Zed (2057 comments total) 122 users marked this as a favorite
 
[The temptation with new politics posts made on the weekend is to fill them up with chatter because the weekend news is slow, but I will be aggressively deleting that -- try to provide information-rich comments, please!]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 4:54 PM on November 9 [33 favorites]


So, ahh, are we still keeping all the election related stuff (tally updates, FLORIDA, etc) in the Official Election Thread (which will soon need a sequel itself) or shall we recombine?
posted by notyou at 5:01 PM on November 9 [3 favorites]


Zinke might be looking for an exit, but in the meantime. WaPo, Zinke is the Cabinet official most vulnerable to Democratic probe, White House fears. But if he left, would anybody notice the difference? He apparently isn't so fond of showing up:
Public records also show that Zinke took 66 “personal days” between March 2017 and August 2018, excluding weekends and federal holidays. That total exceeds the 39 annual days off federal senior executives would be given during that same period.

Swift, who noted that Cabinet members are excluded from the standard federal leave system since they often work outside normal work hours and while traveling, said Zinke “generally chooses to work through the weekend and then take his personal time to spend with his wife and children who do not live in D.C.” “During these days outside of the office, the Secretary continues to work on Departmental matters,” she said, emphasizing that he has worked “at least 35 weekends” outside Washington and on some days that were marked “personal on his calendar.”
posted by zachlipton at 5:06 PM on November 9 [4 favorites]


[National Association of Black Journalists] appalled by Trump's disrespect of black female journalists
President Donald Trump rejected National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) member and CNN White House reporter Abby Phillip's question today as "stupid" on national television. Phillip asked the President if he wanted acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to "rein in Mueller," referring to Robert Mueller the special counsel investigating possible Russian influence in the 2016 election. Whitaker has been critical of the Mueller investigation.

NABJ members and other journalists have taken to social media expressing their frustration with the president's continuous attacks.

"The most powerful man in the free world is verbally abusing journalists," said NABJ President Sarah Glover. "The past two years have been filled with assaults on the media and Donald Trump's comments this week have reached an all-time low with attacks on three black female journalists. His dismissive comments toward journalists April Ryan, Abby Phillip and Yamiche Alcindor are appalling, irresponsible, and should be denounced."
posted by zachlipton at 5:11 PM on November 9 [39 favorites]


My 83-year-old Mom made it to Times Square.

(She made it to DC in 1989 too; that sign read “Post-Menopausal Woman Nostalgic For Choice”.)
posted by nicwolff at 5:32 PM on November 9 [96 favorites]


A reminder that we should savor every victory, no matter how small in the scheme of things: BMI tells Trump campaign Rihanna's work has been removed from their license agreement
posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:40 PM on November 9 [61 favorites]


DC statehood watch: Rep-elect Jennifer Wexton (VA-10) throws her support behind it.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:53 PM on November 9 [22 favorites]


From TPM on the Trump press conference today 11/9/2018

President Trump on Friday claimed he doesn’t know the man he tapped as acting attorney general, continued to berate reporters, and complimented former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s “taste.”

And that’s not all. Here are the most noteworthy comments Trump made to White House reporters before departing for Paris for an event commemorating World War


The press needs to stop reporting Trump's behavior and comments as though it is self evident that it is wrong. The press has to specifically and deliberately refute his absurd responses and call them out as lies without taking the content as any sort of serious presidential opinion.
posted by bluesky43 at 6:00 PM on November 9 [50 favorites]


So, ahh, are we still keeping all the election related stuff (tally updates, FLORIDA, etc) in the Official Election Thread (which will soon need a sequel itself) or shall we recombine?

The Official Election Thread has 2100+ comments; I vote to recombine.
posted by Jpfed at 6:03 PM on November 9 [14 favorites]


and this from Evan McMullen's piece in Think:

Conservatives must begin to measure everything Trump does first by its impact on the health of the republic, not by partisan priorities. No party goal is more important than the protection of our liberty. Not one.

I see no Republicans who are willing to put country first.
posted by bluesky43 at 6:03 PM on November 9 [21 favorites]


I want Zinke investigated top to bottom and everything he did in relation to the monuments.
posted by azpenguin at 6:05 PM on November 9 [17 favorites]






Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Tom Wright posted an insightful thread on the peculiarities of Trump's Paris trip. Although he's participating in the Armistice anniversary ceremonies, he's snubbing Macron's Paris Peace Forum (but Putin is attending, and China is presenting its One Belt One Road).

Meanwhile, Trump opened his Armistice visit to France with jab at Macron (AP). Bolton's already arrived and, predictably, is shitting the diplomatic bed: “'I think the enduring lesson (of World War I) for the United States is that when you become a global power ... you have global interests to protect,' Bolton said. 'Great world leaders,' he said, are 'driven by national interests.'”

So, ahh, are we still keeping all the election related stuff (tally updates, FLORIDA, etc) in the Official Election Thread (which will soon need a sequel itself) or shall we recombine?

With everything that's still going on with the midterms—the extended counting, the recounts, and the interference and rat-fuckery from the GOP—that topic could support a brand new FPP on its own. (I'm afraid that it's not likely to change for the short term at the very least.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:22 PM on November 9 [3 favorites]


A planning reminder since 'tis the season: the Women's March is Saturday 1/19/19
posted by XMLicious at 6:24 PM on November 9 [24 favorites]


Crooked Media's Brian Beutler makes an interesting point about the timing of Trump firing Sessions:
Trump just ran a campaign warning everyone that Democrats secretly want to impeach him. Every Democrat thus faced questions from the press about impeachment and nearly all of them said, "no, no, that’s not what we’re about. We just want to do proper oversight, see where it goes."

If you're a corrupt president, and you've successfully forced most Democrats and the Democratic leadership to weigh in—on the record, ahead of an election—against impeachment, when do you commit a pre-meditated impeachable offense?

Right away is when.
This is part of an authoritarian pattern of actions by Trump, enabled by nearly every elected Republican,, the Washington Post's Greg Sargent argues.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:39 PM on November 9 [42 favorites]


I’m sure McSally knows she’s going to be handed McCain’s seat when Kyl leaves next year, so she’s not too agitated about not winning this race.
posted by darkstar at 6:40 PM on November 9 [5 favorites]


Trump's acting attorney general involved in firm that scammed veterans out of life savings. "Donald Trump’s new acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, was involved in a company that scammed US military veterans out of their life savings, according to court filings and interviews."
posted by homunculus at 6:44 PM on November 9 [30 favorites]


After the White House Banned Jim Acosta, Should Other Journalists Boycott Its Press Briefings? (Masha Gessen, The New Yorker).

Spoiler alert: He has no idea.
posted by bluesky43 at 6:46 PM on November 9 [4 favorites]


"no, no, that’s not what we’re about. We just want to do proper oversight, see where it goes."

isn’t this what you say when the plan is not to impeach until you’ve got him dead to rights and you think it could get a conviction in the senate?

it seems just as likely that trump did it because he was told not to fuck things up before the election by firing sessions, and then he did it the first possible second that he could.
posted by murphy slaw at 6:46 PM on November 9 [14 favorites]


Spoiler alert: He has no idea.

(Masha Gessen is a woman)
posted by Jpfed at 6:54 PM on November 9 [15 favorites]


Josh Marshall points out a very odd section of this CNN article:

Sessions realized too late that Whitaker was auditioning for his job
Rosenstein and O’Callaghan, the highest-ranked officials handling day-to-day oversight of Mueller’s investigation, urged Sessions to delay the effective date of his resignation.

Soon, Whitaker strode into Sessions’ office and asked to speak one-on-one to the attorney general; the others left the two men alone. It was a brief conversation. Shortly after, Sessions told his huddle that his resignation would be effective that day.

O’Callaghan had tried to appeal to Sessions, noting that he hadn’t heard back about whether the President would allow a delay. At least one Justice official in the room mentioned that there would be legal questions about whether Whitaker’s appointment as acting attorney general is constitutional. Someone also reminded Sessions that the last time Whitaker played a role in a purported resignation — a few weeks earlier in September, with Rosenstein — the plan collapsed.
(emphasis mine)
posted by murphy slaw at 6:58 PM on November 9 [35 favorites]


Looks like Marcy Wheeler was right on the money on Wednesday: "Any bets on whether Whitaker was a source for NYT's story that almost got Rosenstein fired a few weeks ago?"
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:04 PM on November 9 [33 favorites]


What plan? I'm totally failing to grasp the significance there, please help.
posted by agregoli at 7:05 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]


There were stories that Rosenstein had talked about wearing a wire with the president. But he's a survivor, as they say.
posted by M-x shell at 7:09 PM on November 9 [2 favorites]


Okay, I'll knock together a new election thread. Seems like there are things happening on multiple fronts.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:12 PM on November 9 [17 favorites]


More from the CNN scoop, with the immediate aftermath of Sessions's "resignation" telephone call:
John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, asked Sessions to submit his resignation, according to multiple sources briefed on the call. Sessions agreed to comply, but he wanted a few more days before the resignation would become effective. Kelly said he'd consult the President.

Eventually, there were two huddles in separate offices. Among those in Sessions' office was Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, his deputy Ed O'Callaghan, Solicitor General Noel Francisco and Steven Engel, who heads the Office of Legal Counsel.

A few yards away, Whitaker strategized with other aides, including Gary Barnett, now his chief of staff.

The rival huddles, which haven't been previously reported, laid bare a break in the relationship between Sessions and Whitaker that had emerged in recent weeks, after it became clear that Whitaker played a behind-the-scenes role in an aborted effort to oust Rosenstein.

A source close to Sessions says that the former attorney general realized that Whitaker was "self-dealing" after reports surfaced in September that Whitaker had spoken with Kelly and had discussed plans to become the No. 2 at the Justice Department if Rosenstein was forced to resign.

In recent months, with his relationship with the President at a new low, Sessions skipped several so-called principals meetings that he was slated to attend as a key member of the Cabinet. A source close to Sessions says that neither the attorney general nor Trump thought it was a good idea for Sessions to be at the White House, so he sent surrogates. Whitaker was one of them.

But Sessions did not realize Whitaker was having conversations with the White House about his future until the news broke in late September about Rosenstein.
The anti-Whitaker faction at the DoJ is leaking like a sieve the size of the Capitol dome.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:13 PM on November 9 [69 favorites]


AP: Trump’s Move To Limit Asylum Is Immediately Challenged In Court
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump issued an order Friday to deny asylum to migrants who enter the country illegally, tightening the border as caravans of Central Americans slowly approach the United States. The plan was immediately challenged in court.

Trump invoked the same powers he used last year to impose a travel ban that was upheld by the Supreme Court. The new regulations are intended to circumvent laws stating that anyone is eligible for asylum no matter how he or she enters the country. About 70,000 people per year who enter the country illegally claim asylum, officials said.

“We need people in our country but they have to come in legally,” Trump said Friday as he departed for Paris.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other legal groups swiftly sued in federal court in Northern California to block the regulations, arguing the measures were clearly illegal.

“The president is simply trying to run roughshod over Congress’s decision to provide asylum to those in danger regardless of the manner of one’s entry,” said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt.

The litigation also seeks to put the rules on hold while the litigation progresses.

It wasn’t clear whether the case would go before a judge before the rules go into effect Saturday. They would be in place for at least three months but could be extended, and don’t affect people already in the country
posted by murphy slaw at 7:29 PM on November 9 [24 favorites]


I didn’t get to respond in the last thread, but there someone posted a chant from the NYC protest “We will not go away Welcome to your everyday” and that really threw me off because I’m one of the people responsible for that and I had no idea it had become a thing. At the Women’s March in DC, it was originally first day, and while I’m sure others must have done the same elsewhere, in my part of the march, I loudly changed it to everyday and it was an experience for me to hear the crowd around me start saying it, too. So thank you for sharing that.

If we’re combining threads, I had mentioned that my Rep, David Cicilline was going for Assistant Democratic Leader. Cheri Bustos had also put her name in but has since dropped out after Ben Jay Lujan entered the race. I’m less than pleased about this development.
posted by Ruki at 7:36 PM on November 9 [63 favorites]


ABC reports: Tensions Rising Between Mueller, Manafort Over Level of Cooperation: Sources
Talks between Special Counsel Robert Mueller and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort have grown increasingly tense over Manafort’s apparent lack of cooperation with the investigation, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

Prosecutors from Mueller’s office have been asking Manafort about a wide range of topics in nearly a dozen meetings since Manafort agreed to cooperate in September, sources said, but the Mueller team is “not getting what they want,” said one source with knowledge of the discussions.[...]

The agreement between Manafort and Mueller’s team remains intact, but sources told ABC News there’s frustration over whether Manafort is fully providing the information he agreed to offer, putting a strain on the deal.[...]

Sources tell ABC News Mueller has been asking Manafort questions about his time working with Stone from the mid 1980s through their time with the Trump campaign. Manafort has offered little information on those topics that would assist prosecutors, sources said.
As always, the question is who's leaking this and to what end, though if this is from Manafort's lawyers, it could be a signal to Team Trump (since their joint defense agreement no longer applies).
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:53 PM on November 9 [19 favorites]


'Late Show' and 'Late Night' has been booking Democratic politicians on the regular for a while now - Late Show dropped a hint in the last week or two that the actual filming is pretty heavily rehearsed/ semi-scripted (but importantly, well researched).

The Dem pols come across as entertaining and fairly non-cringey ("Pokemon go to the polls...") - it seems like there are sympathetic writers and coaches/directors helping them out so they present better. If that's the case, I'm all for it.

Culture war - progressives need to fight back, and 'entertainment' is one of our wheelhouses.
posted by porpoise at 8:07 PM on November 9 [19 favorites]


Shortly before 5 AM in Paris, @realDonaldTrump tweeted a very cagey defense of his new Acting Attorney General:
Matthew G. Whitaker is a highly respected former U.S. Attorney from Iowa. He was chosen by Jeff Sessions to be his Chief of Staff. I did not know Mr. Whitaker. Likewise, as Chief, I did not know Mr. Whitaker except primarily as he traveled with A.G. Sessions. No social contact... [Which elides over the dozen or so White House meetings Trump had with Whitaker that Sessions did not attend.]
....Mr. Whitaker is very highly thought of by @SenJoniErnst, Senator @ChuckGrassley, Ambassador @TerryBranstad, Leonard Leo of Federalist Society, and many more. I feel certain he will make an outstanding Acting Attorney General!
Daniel Dale observes: “In one of his occasional did-a-lawyer-draft-this-tweet? tweets, Trump has gone from "I don't know Matt Whitaker" to "no social contact." This is the kind of dishonest distancing Trump usually does after the firing, resignation, scandal or guilty plea, not immediately after appointing the guy.”

The Trump or Not Bot rates this double-tweet as a 57%/64% chance of Trump himself writing them.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:23 PM on November 9 [24 favorites]


Also, the NYT's Michael Schmidt points out, "Fact check: The White House pressured Sessions to make Whitaker his chief of staff."
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:37 PM on November 9 [27 favorites]


Can I sum this up to make sure I have it right? Whitaker approaches Trump and Co and basically says he's interested in Sessions' job, and probably also says that when he has it, he'll take of the Mueller investigation. Sessions is aware, but willingly resigns when Trump asks him to anyway. Trump being Trump, is pretending that none of his conversations with Whitaker ever took place.

Is that it? This is pretty much what I assumed anyway when Trump announced Whitaker would be replacing Sessions. Even if Whitaker never plotted with Trump (and he obviously has), Whitaker's past statements about how he would derail the investigation on Fox News speak for themselves. This is some real cartoon level despot bullshit, and it just keeps getting more and more transparent.

I don't think at any point in our history any previous president would have gotten away with removing the person in charge of an investigation into themselves, much less replacing him with someone who's on the record as wanting to destroy that investigation. I'm at a loss.
posted by xammerboy at 8:40 PM on November 9 [27 favorites]


Comey Used Private Email for FBI Business (NYPost)

Fired FBI chief James Comey used his private Gmail account hundreds of times to conduct government business — and at least seven of those messages were deemed so sensitive by the Justice Department that they declined to release them.

The former top G-man repeatedly claimed he only used his private account for "incidental" purposes and never for anything that was classified — and that appears to be true.

But Justice acknowledged in response to a Freedom of Information request that Comey and his chief of staff discussed government business on about 1,200 pages of messages, 156 of which were obtained by The Post.


So. There's that.
posted by petebest at 8:53 PM on November 9 [74 favorites]


New elections post up.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:55 PM on November 9 [19 favorites]


His weakness is now evident. Economy appears booming, even a bit of wage growth, yet his party was shellacked and lost the House in a wave election.

The media will stop treating his behavior as possibly politically smart.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:56 PM on November 9 [5 favorites]


Bob Woodward on Bill Maher
posted by growabrain at 9:23 PM on November 9


The Des Moines Register has background on Whitaker's unsuccessful and probably bogus prosecution of a democratic state senator in Iowa, Why did Matthew Whitaker prosecute this openly gay state lawmaker?

It ends with noting that the defense sought to obtain communications between the FBI, Justice Department, and Whitaker's US attorney's office to look for a political motivation but were turned down in District Court. It does mention that these memos are something a member of congress might be able to obtain. Hint hint, people!
posted by peeedro at 9:31 PM on November 9 [18 favorites]


The Mary Sue's Week in Reproductive Justice recap: Reproductive Rights Are Safer After the Election, but Still Not Safe
posted by homunculus at 9:45 PM on November 9 [3 favorites]


Trump Says He’s Not Firing Interior Secretary Zinke, For Now (Flathead Beacon, Kalispell, MT, AP 11/9/2018):
Asked outright by reporters Friday if he would fire Zinke, however, Trump said, “No, I’m going to look into any complaints.”

Speaking Friday to a radio station in Montana, Zinke dismissed reports he already was hunting for his next job.

“I think I’m probably going to be the commander of space command,” Zinke said. “How’s that one?”

“I enjoy working for the president,” Zinke added. “Now, if you do your job, he supports you.”

In an email, Interior Department spokeswoman Heather Swift said Zinke was “denying in strongest possible terms” any plans to leave.
We'll see, won't we?
posted by cenoxo at 9:55 PM on November 9


hey guys and gals listen: trump is demanding a revote in az because he says the results are illegitimate. and all this is in defense of martha nobody, when R control of the senate is already assured anyhow.

think about that. these close senate results mean he is showing us what he will do regarding the 2020 election results far earlier than he really wanted to, without the benefit of months of fearmongering about the results being fake. we should take careful note.

anyone who thinks he will step down if he loses when HE is on the ballot is being naive. everyone needs to prepare for what they will do and how they will feel on that day, the day he loses and refuses to concede. get ready for it. it's coming.
posted by wibari at 10:06 PM on November 9 [122 favorites]




From the CNN piece on Sessions' firing, stronger evidence it was a firing:
John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, asked Sessions to submit his resignation, according to multiple sources briefed on the call. Sessions agreed to comply, but he wanted a few more days before the resignation would become effective. Kelly said he'd consult the President.
posted by scalefree at 10:13 PM on November 9 [2 favorites]




so apparently whitaker was served a subpeona for documents in the FTC investigation of World Patent Marketing, but he just… blew it off?

WaPo:
Whitaker, named this week by President Trump as acting attorney general, occasionally served as an outside legal adviser to the company, World Patent Marketing, writing a series of letters on its behalf, according to people familiar with his role.

But he rebuffed an October 2017 subpoena from the Federal Trade Commission seeking his records related to the company, according to two people with knowledge of the case.

The FTC alleged in a 2017 complaint that the company bilked customers with fraudulent promises that it would help them market their invention. The FBI has also investigated World Patent Marketing, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Whitaker was not named in the FTC complaint. World Patent Marketing, without admitting fault, settled the case for more than $25 million earlier this year, according to court documents.

Justice Department officials declined to comment on Whitaker’s handling of the FTC subpoena.
the acting chief cop of the USA thinks responding to a federal subpoena is optional. okay.
posted by murphy slaw at 11:16 PM on November 9 [45 favorites]


If Newsweek won’t say it then someone should: Trump can grouse all he wants because his cronies aren’t popular but he has no standing to change the outcome of a state election. Nor will federal judges intervene unless there is evidence that a malicious actor manipulated the vote tally - which, again, is not the same as voters choosing a different candidate than Trump wanted.

Better Newsweek headline: “Dismayed at Congressional Republicans’ poor electoral performance, Trump illegally tries to prevent all votes from being counted in Arizona Senate race.”
posted by SakuraK at 12:54 AM on November 10 [35 favorites]


After the White House Banned Jim Acosta, Should Other Journalists Boycott Its Press Briefings? (Masha Gessen, The New Yorker).

Spoiler alert: He has no idea.


It's not an easy question to answer - I honestly don't know which side I come down on myself. The Guardian's Suzanne Moore, on the other hand, is a strong "Yes".
posted by Paul Slade at 1:06 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!

At least nine people are dead, an entire town has been destroyed, the situation is so bad that the skies are apocalyptic 150 miles away, flames are racing through Malibu as we speak, and this is what the President has to offer?
posted by zachlipton at 1:09 AM on November 10 [94 favorites]


Sinema expands lead in Arizona Senate race
At the highest levels of the national party, there’s frustration with McSally — and a sense that she’s not being aggressive enough throughout the process.

While Florida Gov. Rick Scott has lashed out at election officials over the vote counting in his state, McSally has been largely silent. Top officials with the White House and Republican National Committee, who’ve been prodding the McSally campaign to amp up its efforts, have expressed frustration that the Arizona congresswoman hasn’t tried to drive a message that there’s something amiss with the vote count.

On Thursday evening, senior Republicans joined the McSally campaign for a conference call to discuss the state of play. On the call, Justin Clark, the White House director of public liaison, and Mike Roman, a veteran opposition researcher who is working with the RNC, pressed the McSally campaign on what was being done.

RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, meanwhile, has spoken with Lines, and has expressed a desire for more aggressiveness.

So far, the congresswoman has not addressed the vote counting directly. On Friday, Kyl released a statement saying “Democrats’ legal strategy sounds an awful lot like an effort to disenfranchise voters” from the state’s rural counties.

Lines held a press conference shortly before Friday’s court hearing to echo Kyl’s statement of “disenfranchisement.” Ultimately, the GOP got its desired result in that hearing.

Trump, who was briefed by aides on the Arizona and Florida tallies on Thursday, has also weighed in. “Just out — in Arizona, SIGNATURES DON’T MATCH. Electoral corruption - Call for a new Election? We must protect our Democracy!” the president tweeted on Friday afternoon while en route to Paris.

Among some senior Republicans, there is suspicion about why McSally has chosen to hold back. Some are convinced that she’s willing to let the race go and instead hope for an appointment to the state’s other Senate seat. Kyl, who was picked to replace the late Sen. John McCain, has yet to commit to serving for a full term.
This is America.
posted by scalefree at 1:11 AM on November 10 [7 favorites]


At first I was naively thinking McSally has some understanding of proportionality & the importance of the rule of law. And then I got to the end & realized she's just tired from the campaign & wants to take the easy path to power now that all that "will of the people" stuff isn't working out.
posted by scalefree at 1:21 AM on November 10 [4 favorites]


[As a reminder, we do have a post for elections in overtime (including the Arizona race, and Trump's fraud / conspiracy cage-rattling on that and other close races).]
posted by taz (staff) at 1:43 AM on November 10 [5 favorites]


oh god, i missed the best part of that Post article:
Another advisory board member who also did legal work for the company, New York-based attorney Eric Creizman, said he also received a subpoena from the FTC and turned over records regarding the company.

“I thought you kind of had to respond to subpoenas,” he said. “If you’re busy, that doesn’t give you the right to avoid a subpoena.”
posted by murphy slaw at 1:51 AM on November 10 [28 favorites]


Lawrence O'Donnell (I thin it was...might have been Rachel) had a number of clips of Trump saying he didn't know Whitaker. I have to say (and I don't THINK it was wishful thinking) that his eyes actually looked worried. Like he's thinking "oh I made a mistake". I mean I've never seen his eyes look quite like that I don't think. We'll see if he walks the nomination back after all this stuff about Whitaker and the threats to vets that the inventor-help scam he was working for gets out more.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 2:00 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


Among some senior Republicans, there is suspicion about why McSally has chosen to hold back. Some are convinced that she’s willing to let the race go and instead hope for an appointment to the state’s other Senate seat.

I like, and by like I mean hate, how the idea that maybe McSally is "holding back" because she just wants the votes counted accurately isn't even brought up as a possibility. It's as though it's plain inconceivable.
posted by Justinian at 2:38 AM on November 10 [60 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!

At least nine people are dead, an entire town has been destroyed, the situation is so bad that the skies are apocalyptic 150 miles away, flames are racing through Malibu as we speak, and this is what the President has to offer?
posted by zachlipton at 4:09 PM on November 10 [9 favorites +] [!]


And 23 people are dead in two mass shootings in the last week, all due to "gross gun mismanagement". Drop the weight of the federal government on that one, why don't you. Oh, and the best way to mitigate fires like the ones in California (and Australia) is to fucking deal with climate change.
posted by michswiss at 4:05 AM on November 10 [55 favorites]


You cannot be serious:

James Comey discussed sensitive FBI business on his private email
In one email on Oct. 7, 2015, Comey seems to recognize the hypocrisy of the FBI investigating Hillary Clinton’s email practices while he’s exchanging FBI info on his own private account because his government account was down.

Two days after complaining that his “mobile is not sending emails,” Comey asked an aide that the testimony he was to deliver to the Senate be sent on his private account — calling it an “embarrassing” situation.

“He [aide] will need to send to personal email I suppose,” Comey wrote. “Embarrassing for us.”
Lock him up. Not even kidding, the statute of limitations will still be active if a Democratic administration takes over in 2020. Charge James Comey.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:48 AM on November 10 [38 favorites]


The reason not to "lock him up" is precisely that there's no crime being committed. Not by Hillary, not by James; just violations of workplace policy. And there's nothing criminal about being a massive hypocrite either. As for the way he influenced the election... maybe that rises to criminal behavior, yeah.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:12 AM on November 10 [68 favorites]


Oh, and the best way to mitigate fires like the ones in California (and Australia) is to fucking deal with climate change.

Also, the utility companies have been quite negligent in trimming trees from their right-of-way, WILDFIRE COSTS IN CALIFORNIA: THE ROLE OF ELECTRIC UTILITIES
posted by mikelieman at 5:25 AM on November 10 [9 favorites]


Ugh

First you tweet barely understood insults to your host

and then

you sit down to discuss barely understood tweets


Seriously, this twitter thing is fucking ridiculous way to run this planet.

No other institution runs itself based on trolling and mega thread you said he said we said idiocy.
posted by infini at 5:40 AM on November 10 [18 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!

Fun fact: Almost half of California forests are managed by the federal government.
posted by chris24 at 7:03 AM on November 10 [33 favorites]


A few words from an eyewitness: The Pure, Unbridled Joy of Finally Seeing Scott Walker Lose - Katherine Krueger, Splinter
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:15 AM on November 10 [29 favorites]


But Obama once said 57 states at the end of a long campaigning day when he clearly meant 47.

Mark Lowen (BBC)
In today’s ⁦@lemondefr⁩: When #Trump received the leaders of #Estonia, #Latvia and #Lithuania, he began by blaming them for the war in Yugoslavia. It took them a few moments to realise he’d mixed up the Balkans and the Baltics. ⁦@SylvieKauffmann⁩
PIC OF ARTICLE
posted by chris24 at 7:16 AM on November 10 [55 favorites]




Macron looks like he's barely suppressing laughter in about half the pictures I see of him and Trump.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 7:24 AM on November 10


This picture alone is hilarious.

Trump hates to be touched.

I think Macron's trolling and if so, good for him.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 7:26 AM on November 10 [70 favorites]


The Pure, Unbridled Joy of Finally Seeing Scott Walker Lose

The thing is that republicans are like the last boss in a video game. We beat this form, but he’ll be back as a news commentator and then as a lobbyist. They never worry about being terrible in office because they know there are no consequences to their career.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 7:49 AM on November 10 [35 favorites]


In the previous thread, somebody said this WSJ piece about Trump's direct involvement in the payments to many more women than just McDougal and Daniels... including Jane Doe. If that's the case, it seems like a seriously under-reported part of the story. It's now a matter of fact that Trump paid someone for no reason other than her allegation of rape -- if he never did it, why would he pay her? Are newsrooms hesitant to touch on something as horrific on that, for fear it will blow up in their face if his innocence on that is somehow proven?
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:09 AM on November 10 [19 favorites]


chris24: ...Almost half of California forests are managed by the federal government.

More than half (bullet points added):
University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources > Forest Research and Outreach > California Forests

• Of the approximately 33 million acres of forest in California, federal agencies (including the USDA Forest Service and USDI Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service) own and manage 19 million acres (57%).
• State and local agencies including CalFire, local open space, park and water districts and land trusts own another 3%.
• 40% of California's forestland is owned by families, Native American tribes, or companies.
• Industrial timber companies own 5 million acres (14%).
• 9 million acres are owned by individuals with nearly 90% of these owners having less than 50 acres of forest land.
...
California forests face a number of threats. The greatest threat is not loss of forest due to harvesting and the lack of subsequent regrowth but conversion to non-forests from serious catastrophic events such as large wildfires and land use conversion to agricultural and residential land uses. Indeed, the standing forest volume continues to increase on both private and public forest lands. However, we are witnessing a significant increase in the occurrence of large wildfires. As the economic value of forests as a source of woods products is decreasing due to high costs, low income, and woods products infrastructure loss it becomes harder for owners of forest properties to maintain economic sustainability. Softwood sawmill capacity in California shrank by 25% in the last few years alone, according to CalFire.
There are no Twitter solutions.
posted by cenoxo at 8:14 AM on November 10 [23 favorites]


InTheYear2017 asked: Are newsrooms hesitant to touch on something as horrific on that, for fear it will blow up in their face if his innocence on that is somehow proven?

Oh, yeah. I can't imagine an editor touching that story without some significant proof. That said, I suspect that news organizations that still pay for journalists to journal have research people working on it. It's hard to cover a Jane Doe situation, because you need to be meticulous in your hiding of the Doe's identity, and often details that corroborate her story would lead to her being discovered. Being discovered in this situation means being subject to rape and death threads, with the very real possibility that one of Trump's minions would kill you and expect a pardon. And...AND he might get one. Witness for example, what is happening to Dr. Ford.

So, Doe is terrified to talk, as you would be. Ethical journalists don't want to break her anonymity. Unethical journalists like Fox would out her in a second, but are afraid her story is true, and child rape may actually turn some Rs into people. (Bwhahahahaha, no, it won't. I can't even say that with a straight face.)

That story is like the third rail. I'm not sure there's a safe way to approach it.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:25 AM on November 10 [18 favorites]


It's not just forest mismanagement, it's also an increased number of dead trees due to climate change and the pine bark beetle.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:31 AM on November 10 [4 favorites]


Finally, you stay in to watch Fox because its cold and rainy at the Frenchie cemetery where that stupid event with Shortie is going on

The best part of this article is that every picture has either sunshine or blue sky in it.
posted by rhizome at 8:36 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]




Classic abuser procedure: isolate your target (the US) so that it doesn't have any of its old friends anymore and make sure you control access to the only friend options (Putin, Erdogan, Duterte) you do allow.
posted by rhizome at 8:59 AM on November 10 [27 favorites]


One of the pictures in Finally, you stay in to watch Fox because its cold and rainy at the Frenchie cemetery where that stupid event with Shortie is going on is captioned "Mr Macron and Ms Merkel in the railway carriage where the Armistice was signed". No, no, no. The railway carriage in which Macron & Merkel are sitting is a replica. I'm surprised that Sky News would make that mistake since Hitler's destruction of the original carriage is fairly infamous.
posted by rdr at 9:00 AM on November 10 [7 favorites]


Your "Republicans Support the Troops" roundup:

NYT: With little electricity, no combat pay and holidays away from home, the 5,600 American troops on the southwest border are on a mission ordered by a politically determined commander in chief and a Pentagon unable to convince him of its perils. They're in sight of Whataburger and stuck eating MREs. The article points to an estimated $200 million cost (still not allocated in any budget!) for a mission keeping soldiers away from their families over holidays to, um... protect us from a trickle of refugees.

The Hill: Government spending millions to protect Confederate cemeteries

Bloomberg: Trump Trip to Pay Tribute to U.S. Fallen Canceled in French Rain
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:05 AM on November 10 [38 favorites]


FWIW, on the above: I feel like the "combat pay" complaint in the NYT headline is kinda dodgy since no, this isn't combat -- but that does kinda speak to the uselessness of the mission in the first place.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:10 AM on November 10 [3 favorites]


Reckoning With the First Native American Governor Being a Conservative - Nick Martin, Splinter

On Kevin Stitt's victory in the Oklahoma governor's race as a Republican.
There was no hubbub over his candidacy, or what it meant for the Sooner State, or for Native Americans across the nation. But regardless of how the national media or even the candidate viewed the campaign, there is no getting around the fact that Stitt—a citizen of Cherokee Nation as a descendant of his great-grandfather, Robert Dawson—is the first Native American governor in United States history.
...
The opportunity to be represented, as a minority citizen, at the highest levels of government in a two-party system like America’s is not one you pass on. As commenters here love to remind me, perfect is the enemy of good, and in criticizing a Native elected official I’m certain will push for measures that make me grind my teeth, I feel a pang urging me to ease up, to enjoy the fact that we are no longer segregated and utterly forgotten, that Natives are finally being seen as people with something to offer in national politics and to win, regardless of whether they wave their Native identity as a flag or relegate it to a toss-off remark in a single interview. It’s the same pang I felt when I took on Elizabeth Warren’s attempt to co-opt our history—why attack someone that could ultimately serve as a stepping stone forward, either for our country or Indian Country?

I know it in my bones that Stitt, over the course of his governorship, will push conservative, regressive policies that hurt Oklahoma residents who need schools and affordable healthcare. And that’s why it’s important (for me, at least) to remember that with the privilege of being among the first generations to break into mainstream American culture and society comes the responsibility for Native citizens to remind the folks that have long been embedded in said culture and society that we are not a single-minded group of people. For all the good I’m sure Haaland and Davids will do in D.C., and all the positive pieces that are published as a result, it will be just as important to stay on the heels of those of us that are pointed in the opposite direction. And in the case of Kevin Stitt, I am positive of two things: I am proud, regardless of his politics, to know that a Native person finally climbed to the top of a state government, and that I will be among the crowd railing against him if and when he tries to drag Oklahoma backwards, because that is my privilege, and it I’ll be damned if it’s squandered.
Emphasis mine.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:12 AM on November 10 [51 favorites]


Your "Republicans Support the Troops" roundup:

I'd also include Trump rankles veterans with comments about PTSD and California shooter (WaPo). Trump is trading in uninformed and gross speculation about veterans and PTSD, reinforcing wrong and harmful stereotypes connecting mental health issues to violence, to avoid having to comment on gun control.
posted by peeedro at 9:31 AM on November 10 [17 favorites]


Thanks for adding that. I had that in mind when I started posting, but as usual with this regime's bullshit I lost track of all the awful. Even when you narrow things down to a sub-topic there's just Too Much Hurtful Bullshit to remember it all at once.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:37 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


I don't think at any point in our history any previous president would have gotten away with removing the person in charge of an investigation into themselves, much less replacing him with someone who's on the record as wanting to destroy that investigation.

I really don't mean to be pedantic, but Trump has yet to actually 'get away with' anything that he's done as President--or maybe, has only gotten away with it so far. Doing terrible and horrible things, even if you are the President, is always an option open to any person in a free society, but that society also hopefully holds someone accountable should they make that choice, and that part is complicated and takes time.

This distinction has been important for my own emotional health, remembering that, truly, the wheels of justice turn slowly but grind exceedingly fine (if we work to make it so, and not let this asshole actually get away with it all).
posted by LooseFilter at 9:39 AM on November 10 [8 favorites]


I really don't mean to be pedantic, but Trump has yet to actually 'get away with' anything that he's done as President--or maybe, has only gotten away with it so far. Doing terrible and horrible things, even if you are the President, is always an option open to any person in a free society, but that society also hopefully holds someone accountable should they make that choice, and that part is complicated and takes time.

If he doesn't suffer the consequences of his actions before he dies, he will have gotten away with it. We need to make sure this doesn't happen.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:47 AM on November 10 [16 favorites]


> Oh, and the best way to mitigate fires like the ones in California (and Australia) is to fucking deal with climate change.

There's no more typical California wildfire season. It may be year-round, experts warn. "You're getting longer periods of the year when you get these fires. We're literally burning the candle at both ends," said a UCLA climatologist.

The Terrifying Science Behind California’s Massive Camp Fire
This is what a climate change reckoning looks like. “All of it is embedded in the background trend of things getting warmer,” Lareau says. “The atmosphere as it gets warmer is thirstier.” Like a giant atmospheric mosquito, climate change is sucking California dry.

The consequence is fires of unprecedented, almost unimaginable scale. California cities are no longer safe from fire, and with climate change, things are only bound to get worse from here.

“Mass shootings and mass burnings,” Pyne says. “Welcome to the new America.”
Climate Change May Increase Heat Waves, Coastal Damage, & Wildfires In California
The California Natural Resources Agency recently released a new statewide climate change assessment. According to the report, climate change impacts in California will increase in severity over the coming decades. Rising temperatures will result in more heat waves, and by 2050 there might be an extra 11,000 heat-related deaths each year. It is expected there will also be more wildfires. Rising ocean levels will cause billions of dollars in damage to coastal areas. Heather Williams, the Communications Director for CNRA, answered some questions for CleanTechnica about the assessment.
posted by homunculus at 9:50 AM on November 10 [16 favorites]


Finally, you stay in to watch Fox because its cold and rainy at the Frenchie cemetery where that stupid event with Shortie is going on
"As we sit here in the rain, thinking how uncomfortable we must be these minutes as our suits get wet and our hair gets wet and our shoes get wet, I think it's all the more fitting that we remember on that day, in Dieppe, the rain wasn't rain, it was bullets,"
Justin Trudeau via @ChazReddBear (video footage in tweet).
posted by Buntix at 9:58 AM on November 10 [80 favorites]


The railway carriage in which Macron & Merkel are sitting is a replica. I'm surprised that Sky News would make that mistake since Hitler's destruction of the original carriage is fairly infamous.

BBC Radio 4 got it right, though. I'm listening to their 6pm news now, and they've twice pointed out that the carriage is a replica.

Also: Perhaps Trump's bone spurs act up in the rain?
posted by Paul Slade at 10:10 AM on November 10 [5 favorites]


There is a video I do NOT recommend seeking out, of a survivor of the Camp Fire. He went to go convince his friends to evacuate like he was doing, and when the fire caught them, he had the presence of mind to drive into a creek bed. His little SUV is badly damaged, the plastic bits all melted, the paint scorched, the glass discolored, but it still runs and drives, and the depression of the creek bed and the metal roof saved him and his dogs as the fire raged above.

His friends and neighbors? Seriously. Do not seek out this video. He sees their remains, and in shock, calmly says, "She wanted to put on her makeup before leaving the house. That's all it took."

Americans are used to land of bounty and ease, where the threats are well known and accounted for. A tornado killed people in Baltimore, and the entire city of Paradise, CA was destroyed in the same week.

Climate Change is an existential threat to the Republic. Its deniers should be viewed the same way, and a core part of the problem that needs solving.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:10 AM on November 10 [116 favorites]


Trump to give nation's highest civilian honor to someone who gave the GOP a lot of money.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:25 AM on November 10 [19 favorites]


"As we sit here in the rain, thinking how uncomfortable we must be these minutes as our suits get wet and our hair gets wet and our shoes get wet, I think it's all the more fitting that we remember on that day, in Dieppe, the rain wasn't rain, it was bullets,"
Wow. That was powerful. It's refreshing to see a leader who understands what his responsipilities really are.
posted by homunculus at 10:26 AM on November 10 [35 favorites]


Marcy Wheeler, writing in Empty Wheel about the walking clusterfuck that is Matthew Whitaker: Did Emmet Flood Mean to Create a Legal Morass, or Is He Off His Game?, or, Is this Don McGahn’s last fuck-up?
This entire post is premised on two things: first, that Emmet Flood is among the rare people in Trump’s orbit who is very competent. It also assumes that because both these issues — White House Counsel until Cipollone takes over, and White House Counsel in charge of protecting Trump from the Mueller investigation — would fall solidly in Flood’s portfolios, he would have a significant role in the plot.

Perhaps not. Federalist Society’s Leonard Leo is claiming (in a CNN report that should be read in its entirety) he worked on the plan with Don McGahn.
Leonard Leo, the influential executive vice president of the Federalist Society, recommended to then-White House counsel Don McGahn that Whitaker would make a good chief of staff for Sessions.

“I recommended him and was very supportive of him for chief of staff for very specific reasons,” Leo said Friday.
So maybe this scheme was, instead, planned out by Don McGahn (who has been officially gone since October 17).
If Wheeler's hypothesis that Whitaker's takeover as AAG has been in the works in August 2017 is correct, then naturally McGahn would be the one responsible, as White House legal counsel, for this mess. And if so, does it also add another reason behind his pronounced anxiousness to leave in the last few months of his tenure—even exiting the White House before his successor can come on board?

Of course, we haven't heard a peep from Emmet Flood, temporary Assistant to the President and Counsel to the President—because he's the only goddam lawyer on Team Trump who knows better than to be interviewed by the press on anything except unattributed background—and Leonard Leo's buddy Pat Cipollone is still undergoing a background check and is not expected to start in a full-time capacity until mid-November.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:30 AM on November 10 [10 favorites]


Trump has yet to actually 'get away with' anything that he's done as President--or maybe, has only gotten away with it so far.

I think if you "only" get away with flagrantly flouting the constitution for a year, or two or three or four, than for all practical purposes that's actually getting away with it. Trump's businesses are in violation of the emoluments clause, which basically says the president cannot personally receive benefits in any way or kind from foreign powers. If the Senate won't call him on it, and the courts take four years to hear any related cases, then the system is broken.

There's no punishment waiting for him down the line for breaking the emoluments clause or unconstitutionally installing his own hand picked Attorney General. The courts will just eventually, when it's too late, decide he can't do that anymore. That's it.

I still believe there's a good chance Trump will go down. Mueller's investigation may turn out to be so iron clad, so undeniable, that even Republican Senators are moved to call for impeachment. But the larger point, that the constitution's enforcement is in reality incredibly weak, and that Trump did indeed get away with flouting it, will still need to be addressed, historically if nothing else.
posted by xammerboy at 10:48 AM on November 10 [23 favorites]


Trump to give nation's highest civilian honor to someone who gave the GOP a lot of money.

In addition to a casino magnate and GOP mega-donor check out the list of other honorees:

Sen. Orrin Hatch, former football player and Minnesota Supreme Court justice Alan Page, football player Roger Staubach, Elvis Presley, Babe Ruth and Antonin Scalia.

What a bizarre hodgepodge. It's like whatever Trump happened to see on the History Channel in passing as he scanned between Fox News and CNN.
posted by JackFlash at 10:49 AM on November 10 [30 favorites]


The courts will just eventually, when it's too late, decide he can't do that anymore. That's it.

And even this is assuming his hand picked to rule for him judges...don't actually rule for him.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:01 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]


Bloomberg: Trump Trip to Pay Tribute to U.S. Fallen Canceled in French Rain

Al Monitor's Laura Rozen points out, "Pompeo apparently skipping too"

Huh.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:07 AM on November 10 [3 favorites]


More on Pompeo's cancellation today, from the AP's Jill Colvin: "Quick update: Secretary Pompeo did not wind up going either. Per the state dept, his visit was “canceled due to scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather.” Other staff did attend." (Supposedly, "The president was supposed to go by helicopter (about a half-hour trip) but helicopters can’t fly in this kind of weather." How did all the other world leaders get out there?)

Incidentally, where's Bolton in this mysterious no-show of American officials?

Maybe Trump's intimidated by Macron's big hands. Reuter's Steve Holland : "Our great photographer Carlos Barria captured Macron’s grip in Trump’s hand at Elysee Palace" Pix!
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:22 AM on November 10 [17 favorites]


After the non-story-stories of Trump/Macron's various physical contact, I want to see his expression as PM Rutte goes in for the Dutch-triple-kiss.
posted by Seeba at 11:35 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


The National UAE's Joyce Karam has more pix: "Theresa May , Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau all paid respects. Trump absence because of bad weather looks more awkward in photos." and "John Kelly & Gen Dunford represented US instead of POTUS."

And former Dubya speechwriter David Frum—who, if nothing else, has firsthand experience with these kinds of presidential visits—offers his impressions in a long-ish thread:

"It's not even 60 miles from central Paris to the monument. If the weather is too wet & windy for helicopters, a presidential motorcade could drive the distance in an hour. [...] Visiting the close-to-Paris monument is anyway already a climb-down from what any normally patriotic president would wish to do on the centenary of the 1918 Armistice: pay respects at the Meuse-Argonne cemetery, the large US military burying place in Europe. [...] But bottom line: Trump willfully insisted on an unnecessary trip to France to mark the WW1 centenary -then once he got there shirked on grounds of weather the job of honoring those who fought and died in rain and mud 100 years ago"

The Washington Post (dateline Paris): ‘Real Low Energy’: Critics Pile On After Trump Cancels Visit to U.S. Military Cemetery Outside Paris
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:39 AM on November 10 [39 favorites]


Alternate explanation for Trump's no-show from Hmm Daily's Tom Scocca: "Skipping the memorial is bad but it seems more likely to be a sign of his complete physical degeneration than of his moral degeneracy[.] He's a bad person so it's easy to focus on his laziness and selfishness but we probably consistently underestimate how he just doesn't have the ability to do the job"
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:43 AM on November 10 [51 favorites]


Remember that Trump originally planned a big Hitler-style military parade in his honor in Washington DC on this date, but it was cancelled. I don't doubt for a minute that Trump just sulking because he isn't the star of the reality show that he had planned.
posted by JackFlash at 11:47 AM on November 10 [35 favorites]


Trump has yet to actually 'get away with' anything that he's done as President--or maybe, has only gotten away with it so far.

2,975 dead Puerto Ricans might disagree. If Clinton had won and also failed so dramatically, I have little doubt that the GOP would have impeached her.
posted by homunculus at 12:01 PM on November 10 [49 favorites]


everyone needs to prepare for what they will do and how they will feel on that day, the day he loses and refuses to concede.

His refusal will mean nothing if he doesn't have the support of a strong military team. If the Secret Service agents assigned to him won't stop the new team from physically escorting him out, he's done - he can yell about election fraud and still being the president all he wants.

And so far, I'm not seeing him inspire enough loyalty to keep himself around. His cronies know that when investigations start rolling, he won't be helping them. He won't be pardoning them or providing other support. If they're lucky, he'll say that they're awesome noble people who deserve the best, so maybe they'll be able to get elected by a fanatic evangelical racist Republican district somewhere, but only if they stay out of prison.

He may keep pretending he's still going to be president forever, right up until January 19th 2021, but he doesn't have a support base that will help him keep control of the house - Congress will start working with the new president; his security access will be revoked - and more important, the access of everyone who might support him will be revoked.

Kelly is a violent bigoted asshole, but I can't see him refusing to step down when the newly elected president appoints someone else to take his place. I don't see him literally shooting it out with half of the White House staff, which is what it would take.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:02 PM on November 10 [16 favorites]




[Let's not pursue a thing about whether he's "gotten away with" things in some sense or other; nothing hangs on whether that specific expression applies or not. And ditto for hypotheticals about when he loses; trying to stick to actual events.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:02 PM on November 10 [8 favorites]


From that photo of the handshake: it appears that Trump must be biting his nails. This I did not know.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:21 PM on November 10


It was also raining last year. Here is how a real leader does it - scroll to 1:15
posted by growabrain at 12:30 PM on November 10 [5 favorites]




I think there's some confusion here. The excellent Trudeau speech in the pouring rain, posted at 12:58 was from 2017 and commemorating WWII. Still, it makes a good point.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:40 PM on November 10 [6 favorites]


The reason not to "lock him up" is precisely that there's no crime being committed. Not by Hillary, not by James [Comey]; just violations of workplace policy. And there's nothing criminal about being a massive hypocrite either.

And floating this kind of talk will only encourage Trump to prosecute Comey, who is on the president's shit list already for daring to question him. The fact that Comey effectively swung the election to Trump is certainly not going to cause him to hesitate; if anything, he would tout that as proof against the obvious historical point that Comey intervened to help his fellow Republican.
posted by msalt at 12:41 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]


Presented without comment:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
But it’s kind of drizzly, let’s not go.


Donald Trump: Poetry Muse.
posted by homunculus at 12:53 PM on November 10 [6 favorites]


And floating this kind of talk will only encourage Trump to prosecute Comey, who is on the president's shit list already for daring to question him.

When you ignore DOJ instructions and flout procedure and good sense to leak sensational bullshit with full appreciation that you can throw an election to a pig, you get covered in shit.

And it annoys the pig. I think. (NOT PIGIST)
posted by petebest at 1:01 PM on November 10 [4 favorites]


Alternate explanation for Trump's no-show from Hmm Daily's Tom Scocca: "Skipping the memorial is bad but it seems more likely to be a sign of his complete physical degeneration than of his moral degeneracy[.] He's a bad person so it's easy to focus on his laziness and selfishness but we probably consistently underestimate how he just doesn't have the ability to do the job"

Also bro doesn't even know how to umbrella.
posted by srboisvert at 1:39 PM on November 10 [14 favorites]




From the thread that bcd just linked, above:
Trump hasn’t visited troops in combat zones. Didn’t show up at a war memorial b/c of rain. Ordered troops to the border as a political stunt, forcing soldiers away from family at holidays. Insulted gold star families. Cut veteran benefits.

But at least he stands for the anthem.
Combined with his insulting McCain for getting shot down and tortured, and his “bone spurs” draft deferments, there can be no doubt about just how heartfelt is his “support” of the military and their families.
posted by darkstar at 1:50 PM on November 10 [47 favorites]


It's rounding the Interwebs and relevant to my interests:

How to honor troops in the pouring rain, feat. V.V. Putin (June, 2017, Telegraph)

PR Bonus Levels Unlocked!
posted by petebest at 1:59 PM on November 10 [10 favorites]


From The Atlantic, The Legal Precedent That Could Protect Jim Acosta’s Credentials:
“Once the government creates the kind of forum that it has created, like the White House briefing room, it can’t selectively include or exclude people on the basis of ideology or viewpoint,” said Ben Wizner, the director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project.

The new steps enunciated in the Sherrill decision to ensure that reporters’ First Amendment rights are not violated include the requirement to give the reporter notice and the right to rebut a formal written decision, which must accompany any revocation. “We further conclude that notice, opportunity to rebut, and a written decision are required because the denial of a pass potentially infringes upon First Amendment guarantees,” the court’s ruling states. “Such impairment of this interest cannot be permitted to occur in the absence of adequate procedural due process.”
...
“What they’ve done here is not only unwise, but probably illegal,” the ACLU’s Wizner concluded.
posted by peeedro at 2:01 PM on November 10 [30 favorites]


Skipping the memorial is bad but it seems more likely to be a sign of his complete physical degeneration than of his moral degeneracy.

He may not have wanted to do the golf cart thing again... But who knows? We STILL have no idea what his physical health is like.
posted by xammerboy at 2:51 PM on November 10


The American civil war didn't end. And Trump is a Confederate president
In the 158th year of the American civil war, also known as 2018, the Confederacy continues its recent resurgence. Its victims include black people, of course, but also immigrants, Jews, Muslims, Latinos, trans people, gay people and women who want to exercise jurisdiction over their bodies. The Confederacy battles in favor of uncontrolled guns and poisons, including toxins in streams, mercury from coal plants, carbon emissions into the upper atmosphere, and oil exploitation in previously protected lands and waters.
posted by jgirl at 2:56 PM on November 10 [71 favorites]


Marcy Wheeler: The Kremlinology (ha!) of the Sessions Huddle
So for the sake of this Kremlinology, I will assume that Sessions remained Attorney General for the remainder of the day on Wednesday. That means that, for at least a half day after this went down, any orders he gave were binding and all those men huddling with him on Wednesday morning retained the relative seniority to Whitaker that they started the day with.
...
In a room of men huddling with Jeff Sessions at a time he undeniably retained authority as Attorney General, at least one person — it might though is unlikely to be Sessions, it might be the Solicitor General who would argue the case legally, it might be the Deputy Attorney General or his deputy overseeing the Russian probe, it might be the guy who ultimately decides such things, or it might be several of them — at least one of those senior DOJ officials raised questions about whether Whitaker’s appointment would be constitutional. All of those men are sufficiently senior to ask Engel to write up a memo considering the question, and so long as Sessions retained the authority of Attorney General, he could decide whether to accept Engel’s advice or not. Sure, the President could override that (Obama overrode OLC, to his great disgrace, in Libya). But Trump would be on far shakier legal ground to do so without OLC’s blessing, and anyone operating in defiance of the OLC opinion could face legal problems in the future.

And an OLC opinion is precisely the kind of thing that Mueller’s team might submit to the DC Circuit — under the authority of the Senate approved and third-ranking Noel Francisco — in a sealed appendix to a challenge to Mueller’s authority.
Who Is Lawfully the Attorney General Right Now?
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:59 PM on November 10 [9 favorites]


Who Is Lawfully the Attorney General Right Now?

Spoiler: If Whitaker's appointment is legal, about which there is substantial controversy, then it's Whitaker. (It is not a slam-dunk controversy. There's a SCOTUS ruling strongly implying no, but other rulings saying that the president can temporarily appoint people to fill gaps as needed.)

If not, Rosenstein's job description includes filling the AG role in case of "a vacancy in the office of Attorney General, or of his absence or disability." This may be a strong point against Whitaker: the position was not "open" just because Sessions was no longer doing it: the Deputy AG automatically is placed in that spot.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 3:19 PM on November 10 [9 favorites]


Another advisory board member who also did legal work for the company, New York-based attorney Eric Creizman, said he also received a subpoena from the FTC and turned over records regarding the company.

Creizman apparently used to represent George Papadopoulos. The George Papadopoulos who wants to retract his guilty plea.
posted by ryoshu at 3:28 PM on November 10 [4 favorites]


> The American civil war didn't end. And Trump is a Confederate president

That's a good piece on the current unpleasantness. If we weren't doing megathreads I think it'd be worth an FPP, and a good companion to this one.
posted by homunculus at 4:34 PM on November 10 [13 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor.

Hollywood Reporter: L.A. Mayor Says Federal Fire Assistance Is on the Way — Despite Trump's Comments
[T]he top executive of the union that represents California's firefighters responded at length to Donald Trump's criticism on Saturday with a condemnation of the President's tweet about "poor" forest management.

"The president’s message attacking California and threatening to withhold aid to the victims of the cataclysmic fires is Ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines," stated California Professional Firefighters President Brian K. Rice.

"At a time when our every effort should be focused on vanquishing the destructive fires and helping the victims, the president has chosen instead to issue an uninformed political threat aimed squarely at the innocent victims of these cataclysmic fires," Rice added. "At this moment, thousands of our brother and sister firefighters are putting their lives on the line to protect the lives and property of thousands. Some of them are doing so even as their own homes lay in ruins. In my view, this shameful attack on California is an attack on all our courageous men and women on the front lines."
And someone on Trump's comms team realized this tweet went too far and had @realDonaldTrump send out a couple of conciliatory ones. The Trump or Not Bot rates them as having only 34% and 21% chance of actually being written by Trump
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:42 PM on November 10 [14 favorites]


Weekly Standard, A Note on Steve King
The congressman disputed a story we reported. We stand by it.

Last week, Adam Rubenstein visited Iowa to report on Steve King’s re-election effort. He filed several pieces from there, including one that reported on comments King made before a small meeting with voters in Webster City. The headline of that article was: “Did Steve King Just Refer to Immigrants as ‘Dirt?’” In the story, Adam reported on a jocular exchange King had with a supporter, in which King says that if he wants to grow spicy jalapenos, he’ll have to import dirt from Mexico. When King laughs at his comment, an attendee interjects, saying the dirt from Mexico is already “on the way.” King agrees, saying, “there’s plenty of dirt" coming from Mexico, the West Coast and other places, too. “This is the most dirt we’ve ever seen.” Adam transcribed and printed the entire exchange as part of his article.

On Friday and Saturday, Congressman King sent several tweets criticizing THE WEEKLY STANDARD, claiming we knowingly posted false information and suggesting we weren’t releasing the audio because it doesn’t exist. “You heard it directly from Jeff King and chose to defend your junk yard dog. You refused to release the tape,” he wrote. He later added: “Just release the full tape. Leftists lies exist without original sources because they are false and manufactured accusations. Weekly Standard is transitioning into ‘Antifa News.’”

King's claims are false.

Here is the audio. The exchange, as transcribed, starts at about the 20-second mark. King is quoted accurately throughout.
posted by zachlipton at 4:52 PM on November 10 [92 favorites]


I am seeing tweets from @NRA and I am not following them. It's not a retweet and is not marked as promoted.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 4:52 PM on November 10 [6 favorites]




President Donald Trump was scheduled to take a 30-minute helicopter ride from Paris to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial in Belleau, France. But a rainy forecast for the city made it too risky for him to safely fly there, the White House said.

Who knew? Marine helicopters can't fly in the rain. I hope nobody leaks this to the Russians.

The White House lied. Again.
posted by JackFlash at 5:05 PM on November 10 [22 favorites]


@AnikaNoniRose

Dear news outlets, you want to do something radical and powerful? Next white house press event with the president, only send your Black woman reporters. #IfYouHaveAny

10:44 PM - 9 Nov 2018
posted by bluesky43 at 5:43 PM on November 10 [120 favorites]


@neurovagrant, 6 Nov 2018:
For election night, I present to you the best thing I learned in my time as a (third-party) sysadmin in the House of Representatives: From a congressional IP, you can only read one XKCD comic: the climate change/average Earth temperature timeline.

XKCD will load the URL of any comic you're linked to, but when it makes a call for the graphic, it will *only* return the climate temperature comic to a congressional IP, including the House wifi. So you're still at the right URL, wondering wtf.
posted by homunculus at 6:04 PM on November 10 [159 favorites]


Trump will golf in the rain, though.

Cost of 149 golf trips to taxpayers, so far, something like $79 Meellion.

And while the redoubtable Led Zeppelin song, "Golf in the Rain" plays, I posit that Trump's disrespectful and dispresidential hidey-holing today may not be about the weather (obvs.), but adding to what was noted above, He don't look good.

That spray tan is maybe the worst yet, and his old white eyes look positively gray with ... illness? Despair? Bananapantsery? Dunno. Not good though, not good.
posted by petebest at 6:09 PM on November 10 [8 favorites]


The National Republican Senate Committee is calling just counting votes "vote suppression":
Paul Waldman: Heads up: If this is any indication, Republicans are going to start calling any Dem effort to safeguard voting rights or count votes "voter suppression," turning the term 180 degrees from its current meaning.

It's the same thing Trump did with "fake news."
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:14 PM on November 10 [46 favorites]


Cory Gardner, up for reelex in CO, a blue state just two years from now, is head of the NRSC. Smart move Cory. Being a lying partisan hack is sure to go over well.
posted by chris24 at 6:19 PM on November 10 [2 favorites]


This is hilarious and I wish I could personally make Trump watch this video. Thank you Resistance Music Break!

@riotwomennn #Resistance Music Break continues

Trump: Desperate Cheeto ... always caught up in a web of deceito

posted by bluesky43 at 6:20 PM on November 10 [4 favorites]


CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Light rains keep Trump from WWI memorial in France
posted by porpoise at 6:41 PM on November 10 [9 favorites]


Hickenlooper for Gardner's seat?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:55 PM on November 10 [2 favorites]


@AbigailBimman :"As of now (9:30PM Paris time), Trump has not shown up to the dinner for world leaders hosted by the French president at the @MuseeOrsay. Trudeau arrived at 7:30 as scheduled. Thanks for following along today - I am signing off Twitter for the night."
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:00 PM on November 10 [2 favorites]


One always measures friendships by how they show up in bad weather. - Churchill

World War One is one of the greatest tragedies in human history, but while people remember the machine gun fire, the shelling, the gas and the disease, few consider how windy it was and what that did to their hair.
posted by adept256 at 7:02 PM on November 10 [47 favorites]




Something has to be up. Dipping out twice like that isn't just pettiness.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:05 PM on November 10 [6 favorites]


Trump eventually showed up to the dinner, and was seated next to Erdogan, where they apparently discussed Jamal Khashoggi's murder.

Between the refusal to go to the memorial today and showing up hours late to dinner, something's clearly wrong.
posted by zachlipton at 7:06 PM on November 10 [23 favorites]


Between the refusal to go to the memorial today and showing up hours late to dinner, something's clearly wrong.

Remember how we learned that the DOJ gives the White House notice of indictments coming down a few days ahead of time, so they can prepare?

Remember how Mueller dropped the indictments against the 12 Russians on the eve of the Trump/Putin meeting in Helsinki?

I do.

Off the top of my head, the whole AG thing might be falling apart, since you know, there's a chain of succession and everything. Or Mueller might be rocking and rolling next week.

Either way, if Trump is miserable, it's a win.
posted by mikelieman at 7:38 PM on November 10 [44 favorites]


fluttering hellfire: "Hickenlooper for Gardner's seat?"

He should do that, but right now he is thinking of running for president. Hopefully he changes his mind, I think he'd be a very favorable shot at flipping the Gardner seat.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:57 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]


Do people like Hickenlooper really believe they have a shot at winning the nomination? I realize Trump won but he had a couple ins that somebody like Hickenlooper doesn't have. He was a celebrity with near total name recognition and he went all-in on the Republican base's racism. I don't see that there is anything equivalent on the left that Hickenlooper or the other longshots could exploit that somebody far more well known isn't already working.

He should absolutely take the Senate route. But I guess every politician secretly wants to be President?
posted by Justinian at 8:11 PM on November 10 [3 favorites]


The incoming Congress should be doing as much as they can to head off the 2020 Confederate War as possible, such as reenabling domestic terrorism investigations and in general treating the Proud Boys, Neo Nazis, White Nationalists et al just as bad as Black Lives Matters has been treated under Trump.

I don't know how to deal with the 20%+ of law enforcement and the military that are Confederacy supporters, but deprogramming them has to be a priority if we aren't going to be always on the edge of a coup
posted by benzenedream at 8:22 PM on November 10 [7 favorites]


Off the top of my head, the whole AG thing might be falling apart, since you know, there's a chain of succession and everything.

45 really wants to believe that government works like business, and like a corrupt personality-cult business at that: if you remove The Guy In Charge, everything falls apart because nobody else knows what anyone else was doing, and they all have their own petty goals that have no focus and no connection to whatever they told the stockholders.

It really hasn't clicked for him that all the evidence collected in the case doesn't go away, that it's all still available for whoever picks up the thread, for whatever department requests it, that it's been duplicated in a dozen (secure) computers and is neatly tagged by keyword, person, time/date, and location. He really thinks that if he gets rid of Mueller, the whole thing evaporates. So he thinks it's a race: can I knock down that guy before he gets in The Final Shot that results in an indictment that leads directly to me.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 8:23 PM on November 10 [19 favorites]


For what it's worth, it's seeming like Trump wasn't late to the dinner, but there's still a bunch of confusion here.
posted by zachlipton at 8:28 PM on November 10 [7 favorites]


Former federal prosecutor Elie Honig:
WSJ reports that federal prosecutors in SDNY had an 80-page draft indictment ready to go on Michael Cohen before he pled. I worked in SDNY and I can tell you: 80 pages is (to use a technical term) a LOOOOOONG indictment. Had to be lots of crimes and co-conspirators in there.
posted by Jpfed at 9:08 PM on November 10 [10 favorites]




I know it's irrelevant in the scheme of things, but if you have an '80s metal soul like I do, this may be a tiny bit of a boost: Political Axl vs Trump vs rando troll vs Sebastian Bach.

Sometimes discover find your childhood heroes are trash. Sometimes you discover they're your kind of trash.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:59 PM on November 10 [46 favorites]


The only reason Trump golfs in the rain is because he can wear a hat. So his hair won’t look all shit. That’s why he missed the ceremony- you can’t wear a hat in the rain at a commemoration.
posted by awfurby at 11:31 PM on November 10 [11 favorites]


So this is an interesting thread, in which the scam Whitaker helped with happened to use Trump's name and image, likely without authorization, a whole bunch of times in its marketing.

@WendySiegelman: SCOOP: World Patent Marketing, the FL patent company the FTC called a scam and shut down, that bilked customers out of millions, and was advised by Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker - released a 2015 promo video featuring images Donald Trump

If anything could get Trump to reconsider, the unauthorized use of his likeness could do the job.
posted by zachlipton at 12:00 AM on November 11 [10 favorites]


in both the photos from today and the press spray yesterday, trump’s eyes look like he hasn’t slept in days
posted by murphy slaw at 12:04 AM on November 11 [3 favorites]


Good, I hope he's having a shitty time.
posted by rhizome at 12:16 AM on November 11 [64 favorites]


You know who is really pissed off about the Trump blowing off the ceremony at Belleau Wood?

Every Marine who ever served.

Robert Muller III is a Marine.

I think we're in the 3rd act now...
posted by mikelieman at 1:12 AM on November 11 [46 favorites]


What does Trump's hair look like in the rain anyway? I don't think I've ever seen a photo.

[There is this New Yorker cover, though.]
posted by Paul Slade at 3:45 AM on November 11 [4 favorites]


Twitter snapshots of Trump's rolling diplomatic disaster in Paris this morning, illustrating US isolation under his administration:

The Atlantic's Rachel Donadio:
Grey and raining here in Paris today, where church bells are tolling for the centennial of the Armistice that ended the First World War, signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. World leaders are gathering at the Arc de Triomphe for a commemoration.

Trump is arriving solo, in his own motorcade. The others took buses then walked.
ABC's Clark Bentson: "Topless protestor runs toward #Trump motorcade on the Champs d’elysee before Armistice Day. Most likely from Femen"

The Washington Post's David Nakamura "World leaders are walking shoulder to shoulder along the Champs Elysses but Trump arrived separately and isn’t participating in this." (w/TV video) "Sarah Sanders told WH pool reporters that Trump arrived separately due to "security protocols" though she did not elaborate."

Al Monitor's Maxim Suchkov: "Meanwhile in #Paris. #Western leaders' reactions to #Putin's appearance." (pic)

NBC's Monica Alba: "Quick snapshots of President Trump’s reaction as President Macron wrapped his armistice speech, strongly rebuking nationalism and calling it “a betrayal of patriotism”" (pic1, pic2)

Between Trump's disrespect for American war dead—in particular the insult to his Marine Corps supporters—and for Armistice Day—he's obviously ignorant of its profound importance to Europe—the Democrats should have ready-made attack ads for 2020. Of course, Trump will undoubtedly commit more diplomatic blunders between now and then.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:24 AM on November 11 [42 favorites]


Any indication there have been seri death threats against Trump in Paris? That might some of what’s going on.
posted by bluesky43 at 5:48 AM on November 11 [2 favorites]


"Meanwhile in #Paris. #Western leaders' reactions to #Putin's appearance."

Find yourself someone who looks at you the way Donny looks at a real enemy of the people of the United States.
posted by chris24 at 6:03 AM on November 11 [29 favorites]




This is the first time I've seen a genuine smile on his face.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:28 AM on November 11 [16 favorites]


Man, that picture of Putin approaching Macron, Merkel, Trump, and Melania Trump.

Macron: Merde. Dois-je parler à ce connard?
Merkel: Scheisse.
Trump: HI VLAD!
Melania: I am envisioning myself in my happy place... I am a very wealthy widow taking a long, luxurious bubble bath....
posted by orange swan at 6:55 AM on November 11 [44 favorites]


Oh please. As long as so many in the military remain totally racist and eager for war in "shithole countries," shunning a Veteran's Day ceremony will have no effect on 2020 with that demographic if DJT is still around by then.
posted by TwoStride at 7:09 AM on November 11 [9 favorites]


Yes, I just saw someone on facebook post "But he beefed up the depleted military and gave them a raise."
posted by maggiemaggie at 7:19 AM on November 11


Putin arrives:

On the one hand I was hoping Trump would meet his maker, on the other hand, I should have been more specific.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:29 AM on November 11 [39 favorites]


CNN sent Jim Acosta to Paris to cover this, and the White House has no control over the press coverage there.

Did Acosta's treatment of him like a President and not a celebrity doing a PR event rattle him so much he hid in his hotel room?
posted by mikelieman at 7:34 AM on November 11 [10 favorites]


Tony Robinson's view.
posted by Paul Slade at 7:41 AM on November 11 [8 favorites]


Find yourself someone who looks at you the way Donny looks at a real enemy of the people of the United States
Nobody's mentioned this, but his lips are looking very blue in that picture. That is not a healthy fellow.
posted by glasseyes at 7:43 AM on November 11 [8 favorites]


Serious question: Can Muller run in 2020?
posted by metasunday at 8:09 AM on November 11 [1 favorite]


It Begins ...

Democrats Will Probe Trump’s Targeting of CNN (Axios)
(via)
House Democrats plan to investigate whether President Trump abused White House power by targeting — and trying to punish with "instruments of state power" — The Washington Post and CNN ...

... [Chairman of House intelligence committee, Adam]* Schiff brought up two avenues of inquiry with a press-freedom theme, aimed at investigating possible administration actions to target two of the nation's highest profile corporations.

1) Schiff said Trump "was secretly meeting with the postmaster [general] in an effort to browbeat the postmaster [general] into raising postal rates on Amazon."

"This appears to be an effort by the president to use the instruments of state power to punish Jeff Bezos and The Washington Post," Schiff said. Jeff Bezos is founder, chairman and CEO of Amazon, and owns the Washington Post.

2) Schiff said Congress also need to examine whether Trump attempted to block AT&T’s merger with Time Warner as payback to CNN.

"We don't know, for example, whether the effort to hold up the merger of the parent of CNN was a concern over antitrust, or whether this was an effort merely to punish CNN," Schiff said.


Eeeexcellent.

*Woo fricking g-ddamn Hoo!
posted by petebest at 8:11 AM on November 11 [46 favorites]


Merkel, Macron, Trump, and.. Rutte. That extremely tall guy (because Dutch) is the prime minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte. (Sorry, seeing my soon-to-be adopted country overlooked made me jump in.)
posted by antinomia at 8:21 AM on November 11 [9 favorites]


The fact that troops are deployed internally in miserable freaking conditions without pay while huge chunks of California are just burning to the ground feels like reading one of those histories where you’re going “wow how did they not see what was coming?”
posted by The Whelk at 8:23 AM on November 11 [59 favorites]


Joseph Stiglitz: 'America should be a warning to other countries' - Gareth Hutchens, Guardian
In the lead-up to his [mid-November]Australian visit, the renowned economist warns of the triple threat of rising inequality, the undermining of democracy and climate change
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:34 AM on November 11 [16 favorites]


Democrats Will Probe Trump’s Targeting of CNN

I mean...ok? But is this really the top investigation priority? Really?

House Dems Already Have Their List of Trump Scandals to Investigate. Here It Is.

Oversight Republicans Block 11 More Subpoenas for a Total of 64 Motions Denied
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:45 AM on November 11 [6 favorites]


As an expert in communication with body language I just saw Putin give Trump a Thumbs up in full sight and Trump’s response was minor embarrassment/mild arousal lip bite. I fucking can’t believe the evidence of my eyes right now
....

Shudder!
posted by Wilder at 8:47 AM on November 11 [14 favorites]


>Democrats Will Probe Trump’s Targeting of CNN

I mean...ok? But is this really the top investigation priority? Really?


If you want a lot of press coverage, investigating a press-centric story is a good play.
posted by cjelli at 8:48 AM on November 11 [27 favorites]


If you want a lot of press coverage, investigating a press-centric story is a good play.

And if you want to really torque Trump's nuts, then making it all about CNN is the way to do it.
posted by mikelieman at 8:51 AM on November 11 [5 favorites]


Churchill's grandson slams Trump for skipping cemetery visit because of weather

‘Churchill’s grandson’ sounds quite good, but it’s only Nicholas Soames, who is exactly as bad as you might imagine a Tory MP whose grandfather was Churchill would be. All the reactionary politics and self-importance of his grandfather, without the saving grace of having beaten Hitler.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 8:54 AM on November 11 [23 favorites]


If you want a lot of press coverage, investigating a press-centric story is a good play.

It read to me like it was business-centric (Amazon postal rates, the AT&T buyout), but with press aspects. Business news + media company news does tend to filter into a lot of streams that maybe House Investigation news wouldn't.
posted by petebest at 8:55 AM on November 11


Putin arrived in Paris today. Yesterday he was in Moscow yesterday to attend the unveiling ceremony for the monument to Turgenev. The Kremlin's website publishes regular updates of his public activities (in English, as well). This morning he sat next to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and EC President Jean-Claude Juncker at a working breakfast at the Elysee Palace while Trump sat next to Macron, if we want to get into Kremlinology 2.0.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:57 AM on November 11


Worth noting Schiff will chair Intelligence, he wouldn't have the committee jurisdiction over the ATT/CNN thing, it'd probably be Cummings on Oversight or Nadler on Judiciary because it's a merger.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:01 AM on November 11 [3 favorites]


He's deliberately targeting the press for not parroting whatever propaganda he throws at them. Investigating if he's illegally using the power of his position, to intimidate people out of their first amendment rights (which, I think might be contrary to some government document somewhere that he swore to uphold?) seems like a good, and fairly important thing.

Maybe it doesn't need to be the top priority, but it's definitely on the ol' oversight list.
posted by mrgoat at 9:02 AM on November 11 [5 favorites]


Maybe it doesn't need to be the top priority, but it's definitely on the ol' oversight list.

Investigating bias against CNN and WaPo is a hop, skip and jump away from investigating bias in favor of Fox.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 9:06 AM on November 11 [7 favorites]


"The fact that troops are deployed internally in miserable freaking conditions without pay while huge chunks of California are just burning to the ground feels like reading one of those histories where you’re going “wow how did they not see what was coming?”"

Trump playing golf while California burns is sort-of like Nero playing fiddle while Rome burns, except that Nero had an infrastructure plan.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:10 AM on November 11 [37 favorites]


Nero was playing the lyre at Antium, a different town, while Rome burned, and afterwards he allowed refugees to camp in his gardens, brought them food and promoted the reconstruction of the city with better fire codes. After doing jack shit for Puerto Rico, Trump is objectively worse than Nero at disaster management.
posted by sukeban at 10:26 AM on November 11 [155 favorites]


Investigating bias against CNN and WaPo is a hop, skip and jump away from investigating bias in favor of Fox.

While I'd love to see a US equivalent of the Leveson Inquiry against Fox News, any such commission would have to restrict itself to actual wrongdoing. The Trump White House's favoritism toward Fox and News Corp. would have to include an unlawful or at least unethical component (maybe Bill Shine's skirting ethics with his waiver about meeting with former Fox colleagues comes to mind, or Sean Hannity appearing onstage with Trump at last week's Missouri rally).

A much bigger target for communications is Kushner's deal with the Sinclair Broadcasting Group for better Trump 2016 campaign coverage in a possible quid pro quo for favorable treatment of their market expansion plans by Trump's FCC. Anyone with reps on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and/or Subcommittee on Communications and Technology should definitely contact them about that, especially the former's incoming chair Frank Pallone (I can't find who'll be the chair of the latter).

Incidentally, in the run-up to the midterms, Gallup found that Democrats favored someone other than Pelosi as Speaker (so who knows if there'll be wheeling and dealing should a leadership contest play out): "By 56% to 39%, Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said Nancy Pelosi should be replaced as their leader in the House rather than kept in that role by being elected the next speaker. These views are similar among Democrats across the ideological spectrum."
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:31 AM on November 11 [9 favorites]


> Al Monitor's Maxim Suchkov: "Meanwhile in #Paris. #Western leaders' reactions to #Putin's appearance." (pic)

Ha!
posted by homunculus at 10:43 AM on November 11 [6 favorites]


I'd get used to being disappointed by the new House not doing much at all.

They’re not even in fucking office yet. Can we hold off on declarations of disappointment until they’re sworn in ffs?
posted by Autumnheart at 10:47 AM on November 11 [106 favorites]


I'd get used to being disappointed by the new House not doing much at all.

Anticipointment!

To me it seems like there's a decent chance the incoming House will be able to get some things done, especially down in the weeds where the Tea Party creeps have lurked for nearly a decade.

As usual, while half the lefties I know are arguing that nothing can ever improve and there's no point getting our hopes up, Republicans are projecting the incoming Dems will change everything (for the worse). E.g. Daily Caller is Cassandra-ing out about the "Medicare for all Democrats" in the next Congress.
posted by aspersioncast at 10:48 AM on November 11 [43 favorites]


Anticipointment!

I love this!
posted by Autumnheart at 10:57 AM on November 11 [24 favorites]


How Chris Christie lost the AG slot.

@saletan Chris Christie on ABC, on Whitaker: "I think he's really there to land the Mueller investigation, to get it done. ... What the president's attempting to do here is to have someone who's already been involved, to get the Mueller investigation to its completion."
posted by scalefree at 11:13 AM on November 11 [6 favorites]


Sky News reports from today's American Commemoration Ceremony: “"You look so comfortable up there under shelter as we're getting drenched, you're very smart people" - Donald Trump thanks the Second World War veterans at the Suresnes American Cemetery #LestWeForget” (w/video)

He can't even make an impromptu joke without sounding like the resentful, entitled asshole that he is. Can anyone imagine Obama engaging in the behavior Trump's displayed all weekend without incurring a massive political backlash?

This morning he sat next to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and EC President Jean-Claude Juncker at a working breakfast at the Elysee Palace while Trump sat next to Macron, if we want to get into Kremlinology 2.0.

I was only joking about Kremlinology 2.0, but it seems there may have been behind-the-scenes diplomatic manoeuvring about the seating arrangements (which are, after all, a big deal in terms of protocol).

Russian media-watcher Julia Davis reports: "Kremlin pool journo claims that the seating was changed at the last minute, with Trump being moved away from Putin, across the table - next to Macron."

Later: "#Russia's state media complains that Putin and Trump "weren't allowed to communicate," as the seating arrangements were changed at the last minute in order to keep them apart. Putin told Russian media that the two managed to talk nonetheless and their conversation went well."

Maybe Putin mentioned how Russia has started bracing themselves for ‘sanctions from hell’ and feared the friend they thought they had in Trump was now ‘hanging by a hair.’ (Julia Davis, Daily Beast)
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:31 AM on November 11 [11 favorites]


Oh please. As long as so many in the military remain totally racist and eager for war in "shithole countries," shunning a Veteran's Day ceremony will have no effect on 2020 with that demographic if DJT is still around by then.

I disagree that it will have no effect. It will have some effect, even if that effect isn't measurable or even immediately discernible. Just before the mid-terms I browsed the #GOPVotingBlue hashtag on Twitter and read many tweets in which formerly lifelong Republicans gave their many and varied reasons for deciding to start voting Democrat. Racism and healthcare were two of the most popular reasons, but even then the tweets were all quite individual as to specifics and framing. Everyone who had switched allegiance had had their own personal breaking point, their own unique stance on why they did. So many of the things that have happened over the last two years were mentioned. Every horrible thing Cheeto and the Republicans do chips away just a little at their support and/or mobilizes formerly non-voters. Some people will never see the light, but many will eventually.

One of the very common mistakes that people on the left make is that we think it's so obvious that the Republicans are wrong that right wing voters should just get it at some point, that there should be a dramatic turning point, that each new awful revelation might prove to be that turning point. But the reality is that we're never going to get that sudden about face. The blue wave is real, and it's growing, but it's not going to happen quickly or without a lot of work on the part of the resistance. This is about re-educating an entire populace, and education is an involved and complex process that works at a different pace with each individual involved, not a sudden mass epiphany.
posted by orange swan at 11:40 AM on November 11 [80 favorites]


Doktor Zed: He can't even make an impromptu joke without sounding like the resentful, entitled asshole that he is. Can anyone imagine Obama engaging in the behavior Trump's displayed all weekend without incurring a massive political backlash?

I mean, all of us can imagine what would happen, but the Fox News demographic won’t ever hear about this because their media environment is setup to keep away these sorts of issues from them. Is the media environment on the other side of the aisle making a big deal out of this? Judging from CNN’s front page, they’re really leading with Macron vs Trump. Imagine if the “liberal” media cooked up controversies like Fox does, with the whole JAQing off headline thing that they do: “Did Trump snub veterans at WW1 ceremony?” “Were Trump’s statements disrespectful of war heroes?” Or even “Trump disrespects fallen heroes in Paris: while world leaders paid their respects, President Trump complained about the rain.”

Trump does so much anti-American stuff, and in these particular events has done nothing but express disdain and disrespect for being part of something that is traditionally giving respect for the dead and the events of a colossal war, and nobody thinks to make a big deal out of it.
posted by gucci mane at 12:22 PM on November 11 [14 favorites]


Maybe Putin mentioned how Russia has started bracing themselves for ‘sanctions from hell’ and feared the friend they thought they had in Trump was now ‘hanging by a hair.’ (Julia Davis, Daily Beast)

have i been asleep, or is russian state media all but explicitly endorsing one party in an american election in giant red letters a relatively new phenomenon?
posted by murphy slaw at 1:02 PM on November 11 [1 favorite]


NBC News, Veterans haven't received GI Bill benefits for months due to ongoing IT issues at VA
The Department of Veterans Affairs is suffering from a series of information technology glitches that has caused GI Bill benefit payments covering education and housing to be delayed or — in the case of Roundtree — never be delivered.

"I’m about to lose everything that I own and become homeless," Roundtree said. "I don’t want to be that veteran on the street begging for change because I haven’t received what I was promised."

Without the GI Bill's housing stipend, Roundtree was kicked out of his apartment and is now living on his sister's couch, miles from school, where he feels like a burden on his family. The new living situation required him to move all his belongings into a storage container, which he can no longer afford. Now all of his possessions are in danger of being auctioned off by the storage facility.
...
There are many veterans, like Roundtree, across the country who are still waiting for VA to catch up with a backlog created after President Donald Trump signed the Forever GI Bill in 2017. The landmark piece of legislation greatly expanded benefits for veterans and their families, but it did not upgrade the VA's technical capabilities to account for those changes. While it is unclear how many GI Bill recipients were impacted by the delays, as of Nov. 8, more than 82,000 are still waiting for their housing payments with only weeks remaining in the school semester, according to the VA. Hundreds of thousands are believed to have been affected.
...
In a Nov. 5 letter to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie, Roe said that employees at the processing center told the group that IT systems at the office froze and crashed so often that tasks that once took five minutes now required 45 minutes. Computers often suffered a “blue screen of death,” which required restarting machines, and “managers had to write off 16,890 man hours due to system crashes or latency issues.” “While Committee staff never witnessed a ‘blue screen of death,’” the letter said, “they did witness the system crash no fewer than five times in a ten minute period.”
The President is jealous that a couple of 90-somethings WWII vets got to set under an awning, while hundreds of thousands of vets are getting screwed out of their benefits with nary a tweet of concern from him.
posted by zachlipton at 1:18 PM on November 11 [64 favorites]


Al Jazeera: “Can Iran survive US sanctions?” (first 10min or so)

I'd missed that for all the “maximum pressure means maximum pressure” crap, the Trump administration inserted a 6-month waiver for all of Iran's highest-volume oil trading partners, so they got the PR boost of announcing the sanctions before the election without any increase in oil prices appearing in the news. (Though I see that several people commented about the waivers in the last thread and I just didn't catch those comments.)
posted by XMLicious at 1:23 PM on November 11


It's just staggering to me how poorly Trump performs at the ceremonial aspects of the presidency. Americans have gotten so used to the substantive and stylish parts of the presidency being twinned that entire news cycles get dedicated, uselessly, to the "style" parts. I think that's a huge part of why people start fondly remembering the George W and Reagan. Those administrations were really damaging to the US and to the rest of the world, but they could fulfill the ceremonial aspects of the American presidency really well. I think, on some level, they thought that was the most important part of the job. (Like the Bushies who bragged that W had a dress code to insist that people wear suit jackets in the Oval Office, as if showing respect to a symbol was more important than performing the actual job.) In this country, the White House can really get away with a lot if they can signal that everything is normal and respectable. Trump is obnoxious and embarrassing, but I'm a little relieved that his administration doesn't have the basic competence or discipline to fully use the power of the presidency in this way.
posted by grandiloquiet at 1:31 PM on November 11 [38 favorites]


Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who is poised to take control of the House Judiciary Committee in January, said that he plans to call acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker as his first witness, the Washington Post reports.

The hearing would focus on Whitaker’s “expressed hostility” to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, which Nadler called “a real threat to the integrity of that investigation.”

Nadler added that he is prepared to subpoena Whitaker if necessary.


POP-cawwn! GETcher POP-cawwn right hee-AH!
posted by petebest at 1:33 PM on November 11 [24 favorites]


Remember a couple days ago when a mob of anarchists trapped Tucker Carlson's wife in her own home and made her fear for her life and call 911? Yea, none of that happened:
One last point on the Tucker Carlson protest, you don't wanna believe the protestors, why not go with the police version of events?

Cause there is a police report.

I'm gonna say that's a more reliable source than Mr. Carlson.

And it completely contradicts him.

Here goes.
First, the police interacted w/ the protestors as they were leaving & they didn't arrest anyone.

They actually saw the person spray-paint the anarchist symbol on the driveway.

The protestors were walking away slowly. Two walked with canes (yes). No one tried to run. BTW there were 4 legal observers at this protest. People going to someone's house to break in, don't usually take legal observers. The police talked to the protestors about not having a problem w/ them exercising their first amendment rights but that spray-painting the driveway was crossing the line. That was the issue. If the police had received a frantic 911 call from Mrs. Carlson saying she was terrified, had locked herself in her pantry & people were trying to break into her house, there is no way that the police would have let the protestors go. They would have made arrests. They would have sent so many squad cars to that location if she represented what was happening in that way. Police tend to over-react. They didn't here. That tells me Mrs. Carlson did not call & say she was being terrorized. In the police report, there is no mention whatsoever of any damage to the front door of Mr. Carlson's residence. Not a scratch. This is consistent w/ protestors' saying they simply knocked on the door and then left a placard resting on it before retreating to the street. There is no mention in the police report of anyone chanting anything about pipe bombs or chanting any sort of threats against Mr. Carlson. What the police appeared to be focused on was the spraying of the anarchist symbol on the driveway of the residence by one person. That was the extent of the property damage. That was the extent of the activity that could possibly be construed as unlawful. Even when it was reported that the incident was being looked at as a hate crime, it appears that this was the focus of the investigation. (How that could in any way be prosecuted as a hate crime is a subject for another day.) What is of concern now is that, since there has been such misreporting to which unfortunately people on the left like @StephenAtHome have given credence, there will be political pressure to bring criminal charges for activity that is not criminal. I hope those people will take the time to reconsider and correct their misstatements. Oh, hey, let me add, I'm not one to point to the police as a credible source. I am a public defender, people. But they are a more credible source here than Tucker Carlson. I am also trying to beat the MAGA folks at their own game. Like, what, you don't believe law enforcement?
I was at the protest outside Tucker Carlson’s house. Here’s what actually happened.
One of the protesters knocked firmly on Carlson’s front door three times then trotted back down the steps to join the rest of the group in the street. This person did not throw their body against the door, as Carlson has claimed to newspapers. A police report on the incident makes no mention of damage to the Carlsons’ front door from the three stiff knocks, contradicting Carlson’s claim that the demonstrators had cracked the door.

Another protester read a brief statement through an amplifying device, then led the group in a series of chants against Carlson’s habitual promotion of white supremacist ideology and xenophobia on his Fox News program. Some of the chants included the refrain “we know where you sleep at night.” At multiple points, a chant broke down despite the rhythm-track efforts of a protester with a tambourine.

Video posted on LiveLeak shows portions of the event, which lasted less than 10 minutes. It also illustrates Carlson’s other embellishment — that one person was caught on a security video saying they wanted to return to his home with a pipe bomb. In fact, the person filming is heard saying “Pipe bombs! Synagogue victims!” as the speaker with the amplifying device wraps up their initial statement and begins to lead chants.
A few people did goto his home. None of them threatened him or his family. No one tried to break in. The police report doesn't say that anyone did any of those things.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:15 PM on November 11 [65 favorites]


These antifa people are not helping. Banging on someone's door and shouting "we know where you live" is classic terrorist intimidation.
posted by JackFlash at 2:25 PM on November 11 [10 favorites]


USAT: Schumer open to including Mueller protection in a must-pass funding bill.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:33 PM on November 11 [16 favorites]


Trump is obnoxious and embarrassing, but I'm a little relieved that his administration doesn't have the basic competence or discipline to fully use the power of the presidency in this way.

I sincerely doubt that Trump's attire has swayed one vote. He can't be polite and courteous without alienating the 30% that love him for being a hate filled racist asshole (he can be polite, just look at him with Putin).
posted by benzenedream at 2:35 PM on November 11 [1 favorite]


Banging on someone's door and shouting "we know where you live" is classic terrorist intimidation.

In what way? This sounds a lot more like a community refusing to allow someone to opt out of societal repercussions to their actions.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 2:38 PM on November 11 [14 favorites]


I'm sure anti-abortion protestors tell themselves the same thing.
posted by kokaku at 2:40 PM on November 11 [13 favorites]


In what way? This sounds a lot more like a community refusing to allow someone to opt out of societal repercussions to their actions.

I don't think you'd be arguing that if it were a bunch of MAGAhats knocking on, say, April Ryan's door and threatening her.

But since it doesn't appear to be what happened it doesn't seem useful to hash it out further.
posted by Justinian at 2:41 PM on November 11 [9 favorites]


I'm sure anti-abortion protestors tell themselves the same thing.

This ignores the context of the existence of high levels of violence in right wing protests when compared to left wing protests. See, for example, the previous executions of abortion workers.
posted by jaduncan at 2:43 PM on November 11 [19 favorites]


I guess I’m just missing where the “threats” occurred, unless we’re buying into Carlson’s narrative.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 2:44 PM on November 11 [10 favorites]


Schumer open to including Mueller protection in a must-pass funding bill.

I'm so tired of Democrats not saying when they'll take a stand. Schumer's position about what Democrats will do when McConnell doesn't support this maneuver (and he won't) is "we'll see what happens down the road."

Down the road? The damn road has come to an end, Schumer. It's time to shit or get off the pot and let someone else take over!
posted by Justinian at 2:47 PM on November 11 [14 favorites]


I guess I’m just missing where the “threats” occurred, unless we’re buying into Carlson’s narrative.

Perhaps you should ask a few of your friends, perhaps women, what the words "we know where you live" means.
posted by JackFlash at 2:48 PM on November 11 [22 favorites]


I agree: there's absolutely no difference protesting at a public figure's home and telling a private citizen you might murder them in their bed sometime. No daylight between those two things at all, nosiree.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 2:57 PM on November 11 [14 favorites]


Perhaps you should ask a few of your friends, perhaps women, what the words "we know where you live" means.

Depends on the context. Given they were outside the house, I'm not sure their intent was the same as you're thinking.

Either way, my take away is "Tucker Carlson doesn't live in a gated community?"
posted by mikelieman at 2:58 PM on November 11 [7 favorites]


Sorry, the exact chant, as reported by a participant linked above was "we know where you sleep at night" which is certainly no better. I want nothing to do with these shits.
posted by JackFlash at 2:58 PM on November 11 [5 favorites]


Context means nothing, got it.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 3:00 PM on November 11 [9 favorites]


Honestly, chanting "we know where you live" was not only dumb but superfluous. Showing up outside Tucker Carlson's house is proof enough that they knew where he lived, and anything beyond that you're just being overtly threatening. Ditto the idiot who spray-painted the driveway. Just, no dude. Save that shit for ICE HQ, or if you're going to be a dick about it at least do it in chalk. There's a difference between government-owned property (which in a manner of speaking is public property) and the private property of private citizens, however loathsome the occupant may be.

That said: just showing up in front of the house, picketing, signs, even (non-threatening) chants -- it's toeing a line but I'm not sure it crosses it. Carlson is a vocal propagandist and apologist for this administration, in my book he's fair game for non-violent protest. If I were organizing it I would much rather target his place of business or even other public places where he might be found, because his family and his neighbors aren't necessarily complicit in his awfulness, but barring a more effective option I think a measured protest at his house is not beyond the pale.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 3:00 PM on November 11 [22 favorites]


What does Trump's hair look like in the rain anyway? I don't think I've ever seen a photo.

[There is this New Yorker cover, though.]


There's also this Ben Jennings cartoon.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:03 PM on November 11 [2 favorites]


USAT: Schumer open to including Mueller protection in a must-pass funding bill.

Anyone can propose an amendment, what Chuck needs to prove is he can hold his traitor caucus together to force a filibuster and partial* shutdown if Mitch McConnell laughs in his face and tells him to put up or shut up, knowing he can't.

* - most of the government is already funded for next year, there's only really DHS because of the ongoing wall dispute outstanding.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:07 PM on November 11 [1 favorite]


I see no contradiction between acknowledging Tucker as the lying hypocritical shitbird that he is & saying we ought to be able to draw our own lines as to what we consider acceptable means & that protesting people like him at home, especially those with families, is outside the bounds of what we support even if the protesters are being polite & not breaking down doors (which didn't happen) or spraying anarchy symbols on the driveway (which did).
posted by scalefree at 3:12 PM on November 11 [26 favorites]


These antifa people are not helping. Banging on someone's door and shouting "we know where you live" is classic terrorist intimidation.

I guess don't be a Fascist and you won't need to worry about the Anti-fascists coming by.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 3:35 PM on November 11 [44 favorites]


I am fine with people being called out in public for their actions, even if and especially when it ruins their dinner. I don’t think it is productive or appropriate to harrass people in their home. Unless their home is a de facto public space like the the White House, Trump Tower or Mar a Lago. I am fine with fighting twice as hard, but not okay with sinking to their level.
posted by snofoam at 3:50 PM on November 11 [9 favorites]


traitor caucus

I have to say, in a charged atmosphere where the term "enemy of the people" is being used, I'm not real wild about calling insufficiently left Democrats "traitors."
posted by Chrysostom at 3:52 PM on November 11 [48 favorites]


I guess don't be a Fascist and you won't need to worry about the Anti-fascists coming by.

There needs to be a real difference between fascists & anti-fascists aside from being on different teams or there's no point to any of it.
posted by scalefree at 3:57 PM on November 11 [8 favorites]


There needs to be a real difference between fascists & anti-fascists

There is a real difference. Fascists want people they don't like to die. Anti-fascists want fascists to knock it the fuck off.

Say what you will about what places are more or less appropriate, but making powerful assholes uncomfortable is not a fascist activity and it's ridiculous to conflate the two in this way.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 4:02 PM on November 11 [73 favorites]


Tucker wasn't home. They knew he wouldn't be home. It was an effort to intimidate his family. So, making Tucker uncomfortable, fine, not fascist. Intentionally doing the same to his family when you know he's not there, that's on the fascist spectrum
posted by chris24 at 4:04 PM on November 11 [12 favorites]


His family that was home consisted of his wife (his children are adults). I can’t muster much sympathy for the spouse of a fascist propagandist.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 4:08 PM on November 11 [3 favorites]


His children are 15 to 23. Not all adults.
posted by chris24 at 4:08 PM on November 11


[I’m not sure we need to go twenty rounds on Carlson as the battleground for the soul of American protest or so on, maybe rein it in at this point.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:11 PM on November 11 [30 favorites]


For pete's sake. Anyone would think that protesting outside people's homes was new, but people protested outside the home of the CEO of Northern States Power back in the early nineties in an effort to prevent the building of nuclear waste storage on an island in the Mississippi, and people protested outside of the CEO of Jimmy John's when he was illegally firing union organizers. And those are just the two situations that I can think of locally. People also protest outside the governor's mansion and the U of M president's house, now that I think about it.

This is not new, it's not especially appalling and it seems to have been a perfectly standard protest well within the range of protests against other powerful people.

Saying that this is unpleasant for his wife and children is about the same as saying that strikes are unfair because they negatively affect consumers - it ends up reducing collective problems to individual comfort and convenience and ranking the comfort and convenience of a few individuals over the safety and wellbeing of many. It's very easy to do this because individual experience in the moment is easy to notice and grasp, and mass experience over time is not. But still.
posted by Frowner at 4:15 PM on November 11 [66 favorites]


in my opinion, having a wild rumpus at carlson’s house and tagging his driveway is one of those, “worse than a crime, a mistake” things.

i’m not clear what it was intended to achieve - either it was a half-assed protest or a quarter-assed act of intimidation, and either way the only outcome was to give Carlson something to rant about on the TV and feed the “antifa are barbarians” narrative that Fox is pushing.

at any rate we’ve probably spent about 20x as many brainwaves on it as it's worth
posted by murphy slaw at 4:15 PM on November 11 [16 favorites]


Not all behavior can be placed onto a fascist-anti fascist axis.
posted by Rumple at 4:25 PM on November 11 [2 favorites]


Axios, Swan (in an uncharacteristically verbose piece that's careful to point out what Trump can and cannot do and describes its sourcing, which makes me think some of the criticism of the birthright citizenship story sunk in), Trump wants no more relief funds for Puerto Rico
President Trump doesn't want to give Puerto Rico any more federal money for its recovery from Hurricane Maria, White House officials have told congressional appropriators and leadership. This is because he claims, without evidence, that the island’s government is using federal disaster relief money to pay off debt.
...
In late October, Trump grew furious after reading a Wall Street Journal article by Matt Wirz, according to five sources familiar with the president's reaction. The article said that "Puerto Rico bond prices soared ... after the federal oversight board that runs the U.S. territory’s finances released a revised fiscal plan that raises expectations for disaster funding and economic growth."

Sources with direct knowledge told me Trump concluded — without evidence — that Puerto Rico's government was scamming federal disaster funds to pay down its debt.
...
A second source said Trump misinterpreted the Journal article, concluding falsely that the Puerto Rican government was using disaster relief funds to pay down debt.
A third source said Trump told top officials in an October meeting that he wanted to claw back congressional funds that had previously been set aside for Puerto Rico's recovery. "He's always been pissed off by Puerto Rico," the source added.
The article's comparison of Katrina funding to Maria funding is particularly eye-opening.

@CharlesMBlow: This is an evil racist. Period. Big dot ⚫️
posted by zachlipton at 4:30 PM on November 11 [41 favorites]


What protesters did at Carlson's house was by and large stupid and ill-advised, but at heart it was an act of resistance against hate. I disagree with the way they did what they did but generally speaking I am on the same side.

What Trump is advocating, when he says "Take out their families, too" is called genocide. No one here is taking Trump's side on this. Beyond the fact that the word "families" is involved, there is nothing similar here.

I get that everyone would like to see us taking the highest-possible road in all cases. Really, I do, and that would be great. But please, let's not lose sight of the fact that we have people on one side of this debate who are advocating for the death or erasure of minorities, immigrants, gay folks, trans folks, and for the establishment of a ethno-Christian white supremacist state in America. I would love it if everyone on our side would pick the most effective time and place and method to push back against this evil, but I'm not going to sit around wringing my hands and tut-tutting because a handful of folks might have banged too hard on a door.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 4:31 PM on November 11 [42 favorites]


"If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row"- Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith says in Tupelo, MS after Colin Hutchinson, cattle rancher, praises her.
Hyde-Smith is in a runoff on Nov 27th against Mike Espy.
posted by adamvasco at 4:31 PM on November 11 [5 favorites]


It's easy to say these antifa people aren't helping if you aren't out in the streets actively fighting actual nazis. Antifa aren't a monolith and they will naturally have varied methods with varied outcomes. Dismissing antifa because of a disagreement over the actions taken to protest Tucker Carlson is missing the biomass of the Earth for the trees.

Tucker is afraid that people will say words at him / his family, antifa are actually in the streets fighting the people that Tucker encourages to murder others.
posted by lazaruslong at 4:34 PM on November 11 [35 favorites]


It's also buying into the right's framing of "antifa equals very bad, boo hiss".
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:37 PM on November 11 [15 favorites]


It's also buying into the right's framing of "antifa equals very bad, boo hiss".

Which, I mean, is how the right would respond to Antifa even if Antifa did literally nothing but stay at home and occasionally tweet that genocide is rude.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:45 PM on November 11 [29 favorites]


"If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row"- Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith says in Tupelo, MS after Colin Hutchinson, cattle rancher, praises her.
Hyde-Smith is in a runoff on Nov 27th against Mike Espy.
Relevant details: Hutchinson and Hyde-Smith are white, and Espy is black.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:47 PM on November 11 [26 favorites]


i swear this is my last word on the subject…

this particular protest at carlson’s house was kind of ramshackle and counterproductive.

i can say this without thinking that antifa in general are ramshackle and counterproductive. if anything. it stands out because of the contrast between this particular act and the sum total of the other work that antifa resistors are doing.
posted by murphy slaw at 4:49 PM on November 11 [14 favorites]


Relevant details: Hutchinson and Hyde-Smith are white, and Espy is black.

Other relevant details: Mississippi had more lynchings than any other state. Including an alleged lynching by hanging this year. Last state execution by hanging? 1940.
posted by chris24 at 4:51 PM on November 11 [25 favorites]


It's easy to say these antifa people aren't helping if you aren't out in the streets actively fighting actual nazis.

But that's the same thing some apologist on the right would say about proud boys out in the streets fighting actual commies, or something.
posted by floam at 5:42 PM on November 11 [2 favorites]


As journalists continue to excavate Matt Whitaker's sleazy past, his appointment as acting attorney general has FBI and DOJ officials in a 'daze' (Business Insider).
One current FBI agent was blunt when asked about Whitaker's appointment.

"Seriously? This guy?" the agent, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, told INSIDER. "No words."[...]

"Main Justice people are in a daze" since Whitaker's appointment "and have been for a while," one former DOJ official — who requested anonymity to freely discuss the mood within the department — told INSIDER. "Local [assistant US attorneys] are keeping their heads down and just doing their work but are pretty embarrassed, particularly in New York and Chicago."
Courthouse News examines his previous employement just prior to joining the DoJ: Large Payments to Trump AG Pick Found in Scam Firm’s Records
As civil litigation over the now-defunct company trudges on, however, court records in more than 10 lawsuits show that acting U.S. Attorney General Matt Whitaker may have profited handsomely from his former role as a World Patent Marketing board member.

Known as WPM for short, the company paid at least $9,375 to Whitaker between October 2014 and late February 2016, and its financial records indicate that the company owed him $7,500 more for work between May 2016 and February 2017.

The Department of Justice declined to comment on whether Whitaker returned what WPM paid him for his role on the 12-member “Invention Team Advisory Board.” A receiver in charge of the court-ordered investigation of WPM found this board to be a sham designed to “impress customers and foster sales.”
For reference, here's the FTC's complaint against Desa Industries, Inc., d.b.a. World Patent Marketing (PDF), and @WarfareNavel has assembled a thread of WPM's super-scummy Twitter feed.

Before that gig, Whitaker ran the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT)—“a chop shop of fake ethics complaints” (NYMag).
Donald Trump’s new acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker ran for statewide office twice in Iowa, and lost badly both times. After the second defeat — he finished fourth in a 2014 GOP Senate primary — a group of conservative lawyers in Washington, D.C., approached with him with an idea. According to a GOP operative familiar with the discussion, the group recruited Whitaker into an effort to start a conservative counterpoint to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. For years, CREW had bedeviled the right with its crusades for good governance and its annual list of the most corrupt members of Congress. The Republican legal world saw the outfit as little more than a partisan operation masquerading as a government-accountability project, and they wanted their own version.[...]

But the group never earned much respect in political circles in Washington, D.C.

“It was one of the hackier things I ever saw,” said one GOP operative involved in some of the early efforts of the new group. “If you wanted to be treated seriously you have to do serious work. The whole thing just became a chop shop of fake ethics complaints.”
Also, the AP reports that FACT may have violated its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.

And before that, as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, he unsuccessfully prosecuted Iowa State Sen. Matt McCoy for attempted extortion. McCoy writes about his experience of this for Politico: "I Was the Subject of a Political 'Witch Hunt.' Matt Whitaker Directed It. "People should be very concerned with Whitaker’s elevation to acting attorney general. The DOJ is supposed to be blind to politics. Whitaker clearly is not."
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:44 PM on November 11 [39 favorites]


Relevant details: Hutchinson and Hyde-Smith are white, and Espy is black.

If out-of-state folks feel moved to help Espy out, they've got textbanking and Postcards to Voters programs set up (twitter link).
posted by lalex at 5:49 PM on November 11 [22 favorites]


AP, Russia protests journalist’s interrogation at US airport
Russia’s Foreign Ministry is complaining that the interrogation of a website editor at a U.S. airport shows authorities are persecuting Russian journalists.

Alexander Malkevich, editor of the USA Really website, reportedly was detained and questioned for several hours Friday at a Washington airport and told that his site must register in the U.S. as a foreign agent. The website is funded by the sponsors of the Russian “troll factory” accused of interference in the 2016 U.S. vote.

Malkevich was released and traveled to Paris, according to state news agency RIA-Novosti.

A ministry statement on Sunday said the incident was “evidence of the campaign of pressure by the American authorities not only on the Russian press, but on any independent opinion about the United States.”
This is astonishingly weird framing by the AP. This is the guy who tried to throw a weird protest against "fake news" in front of the White House (McClatchy has more background on USA Really). It's certainly worth reporting, but what Malkevich is doing stretches the definition of "journalist" to the point that it's hard to say it belongs in the headline.
posted by zachlipton at 5:52 PM on November 11 [11 favorites]


USA Really makes Russia Today look like the BBC.
posted by murphy slaw at 6:08 PM on November 11 [2 favorites]


I can't help but read that as USA, really? and it's making me crack up every time I see it.
posted by angrycat at 6:19 PM on November 11 [12 favorites]


> President Trump doesn't want to give Puerto Rico any more federal money for its recovery from Hurricane Maria, White House officials have told congressional appropriators and leadership. This is because he claims, without evidence, that the island’s government is using federal disaster relief money to pay off debt.

Bloomberg article from Oct. 23rd: Trump Falsely Claims Puerto Rico Wants to Use Aid to Pay Its Debt

2,795 Puerto Ricans died on his watch after Hurricane Maria, and now this? There really is no bottom to that man's degeneracy.
posted by homunculus at 6:28 PM on November 11 [19 favorites]


Beast, Ackerman, ICE Is Imprisoning a Record 44,000 People: Congress told the immigration agency to reduce its detentions. Instead, ICE detained more people than ever, The Daily Beast has learned. Where did it find the money?
That senator, Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley, told The Daily Beast it was unsurprising that the Trump administration was “exceeding historic high water marks of detainees to pursue their ideologically driven policy agenda.” But Merkley, a member of the powerful Senate appropriations committee, demanded ICE account for how it had somehow found the money—something it and the Department of Homeland Security would not do in response to The Daily Beast’s questions.

“It is incredibly important that ICE explain how they’re paying for nearly 4,000 more beds. In September, when I discovered that ICE had been reprogramming FEMA dollars to pay for immigrant detention centers, I wasn’t given the information from the administration. I wasn’t given the information as a member of the Senate appropriations committee. I found the information through outside resources,” Merkley said.
...
An ICE spokesperson, Danielle Bennett, acknowledged that Congress funded ICE for 40,520 average daily detainees this year, “though ICE does have the flexibility to go above that number.” Neither Bennett nor DHS answered The Daily Beast’s repeated questions about where the money for thousands more detentions every day came from.
...
In other words, since at least mid-September, ICE has busted through its congressionally-mandated detention cap of 40,520 people by between 3,000 and 4,000 people—even after surreptitiously getting money from elsewhere in DHS.
They took the money out of FEMA last time. Where'd it come from this time?
posted by zachlipton at 6:36 PM on November 11 [40 favorites]






The link says Large Payments to Trump AG Pick Found in Scam Firm’s Records but the word "large" doesn't appear in the linked article.

Known as WPM for short, the company paid at least $9,375 to Whitaker between October 2014 and late February 2016, and its financial records indicate that the company owed him $7,500 more for work between May 2016 and February 2017.

I would not call those large payments. It doesn't look like he's even going to collect his last four invoices, all being 18+ months old. The relative size of the payment hardly matters anyway (unless he was overpaid, but these amounts don't leave much room for that).

From the looks of it, his invoices were all the same amounts, spread months apart, but at irregular intervals. If he was on a retainer, they would be regular, like monthly. What did he do that generated the same fee at odd intervals? It sure looks like he did the same thing 9 times, whatever it was.
posted by M-x shell at 7:34 PM on November 11 [5 favorites]


What did he do that generated the same fee at odd intervals? It sure looks like he did the same thing 9 times, whatever it was.

Maybe it was the fee he charged for sending threatening letters?
posted by Slothrup at 7:43 PM on November 11 [3 favorites]


Richard Objeda, West Virginia Lawmkaer Who Led Teacher Strikes, Will Run For President. The announcement is tomorrow at noon.
RICHARD OJEDA is running for president. Ojeda, a West Virginia state senator and retired U.S. Army major, lost his congressional bid in the state’s 3rd District on Tuesday, but saw the largest swing of Trump voters toward Democrats in any district around the country — overperforming 2016 by more than 35 points. Still, in a district Donald Trump carried by 49 points, Ojeda, who rose to prominence leading teacher strikes in West Virginia, lost by 12 points.

Ojeda’s case for his candidacy is straightforward: The Democratic Party has gotten away from its roots, and he has a unique ability to win over a white, black, and brown working-class coalition by arguing from a place of authority that Trump is a populist fraud. He’s launching his campaign with an anti-corruption focus that draws a contrast with Trump’s inability to “drain the swamp.”

His authority — and one of his greatest liabilities — would come, in part, from his own previous support of Trump in the 2016 general election. After backing Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primary, Ojeda refused to support Hillary Clinton, seeing her as an embodiment of the party’s drift toward the elite.
It. Is. Possible. To. Make. A. Valuable. Contribution. To. This. Country. Without. Announcing. Your. Candidacy. In. The. Democratic. Primary. (I shout, and am ignored by thousands.)
posted by zachlipton at 7:54 PM on November 11 [75 favorites]


Trump’s election bashing may portend scary things for 2020. The president sent out numerous tweets suggesting that some of the midterm elections might have been “rigged.”
And Trump’s comments might portend things to come. We’ve become desensitized to the president’s near-daily dramas, missteps, obvious lies, and conspiracy theories. We may become desensitized to attacks on the electoral system, too. Worse, people might start to believe, as they have come to believe Trump’s claims about the “fake news” media, that the voting system really is somehow compromised.

As the former Obama advisor and Pod Save America host Dan Pfeiffer suggested on Twitter, it’s not far-fetched to believe that Trump might resort to attacks on the electoral system if things don’t go his way in the 2020 presidential election.
posted by homunculus at 7:57 PM on November 11 [5 favorites]


His authority — and one of his greatest liabilities — would come, in part, from his own previous support of Trump in the 2016 general election. After backing Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primary, Ojeda refused to support Hillary Clinton, seeing her as an embodiment of the party’s drift toward the elite.

Should've started with that and saved me a couple paragraphs' worth of reading.
posted by Behemoth at 7:57 PM on November 11 [72 favorites]


Should've started with that and saved me a couple paragraphs' worth of reading.

I saved you the bit where he's convinced his class experience will help him connect with the Democratic Party's base of people of color, a theory that is profoundly undercut by the fact that he didn't sour on Trump until after the 2016 election, given that Trump started his campaign with racism and ended it with more racism. "Yeah, I supported the racist until I realized his economic policy was a scam, but I promise I understand Black Lives Matter because I'm here for the working class" is a message that strikes me as exceedingly unlikely to go over well.
posted by zachlipton at 8:13 PM on November 11 [34 favorites]


After backing Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primary, Ojeda refused to support Hillary Clinton, seeing her as an embodiment of the party’s drift toward the elite.

Obviously, shunning Clinton to support Trump is a huge WTF disqualifier, but at this point I cannot view anyone identifying as a Democrat who did not vote for Clinton as anything but a person who is a bona fide sexist (there are some exceptions, but the vast majority of people I talk to about this don't fall into that category). Maybe I'm just sick of witnessing and dealing with sexism as millions of little paper cuts, day in and day out; but I take a zero tolerance view towards it, and I hope the Democratic Party will someday do the same. I kind of think that a person's views on Hillary Clinton is a generally reliable indicator of how sexist that person is. Ojeda is a nonstarter.
posted by triggerfinger at 8:25 PM on November 11 [41 favorites]


that the voting system really is somehow compromised.

worse, the voting system is compromised, by lack of standards, unreliable equipment, and measures designed to spuriously disqualify ballots.

it’s just not compromised by hordes of voters voting illegally.

it’s not far-fetched to believe that Trump might resort to attacks on the electoral system if things don’t go his way in the 2020 presidential election.

he resorted to attacks on the electoral system in an election that he won.

if he loses, it’s not far-fetched that he”d do so, it’s guaranteed, but louder and with more sinister allegations.
posted by murphy slaw at 8:32 PM on November 11 [18 favorites]


zachlipton: "It. Is. Possible. To. Make. A. Valuable. Contribution. To. This. Country. Without. Announcing. Your. Candidacy. In. The. Democratic. Primary. (I shout, and am ignored by thousands.)"

Speaking of which, I'd like to take this opportunity to announce my candidacy for the presidency.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:35 PM on November 11 [105 favorites]


at this point I cannot view anyone identifying as a Democrat who did not vote for Clinton as anything but a person who is a bona fide sexist

I know some, but I'm in the Bay Area bubble, where Stein was seen as a reasonable protest vote. Anti-"elitist" progressives could safely vote Green and be assured that California would still go for Clinton.

But anyone who voted for Trump, or who supported the idea of Trump over Clinton? OH HELL NO. Not unless I get to see an abject, public apology that describes exactly how they came to realize the toxicity of the racist, sexist garbage they used to believe, and what they're going to do in the future to repudiate their former values.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 8:38 PM on November 11 [9 favorites]


I know some, but I'm in the Bay Area bubble, where Stein was seen as a reasonable protest vote. Anti-"elitist" progressives could safely vote Green and be assured that California would still go for Clinton.

I hold these people almost more responsible. They knew better. This attitude was blasted out on social media to states where it really did matter. It infected absolutely everything about that election. There was a widespread permission structure not to vote Clinton because "it's OK, she's going to win".
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:13 PM on November 11 [58 favorites]


People voting for Stein was the ultimate example of not learning from history. *Recent* history!
posted by Chrysostom at 9:22 PM on November 11 [37 favorites]


It's a little long but not easily summarized.

Trump campaigned to protect himself, not help Republicans
The midterms are over, so expect President Trump to adjust accordingly: The “caravan” will now drop out of the news; the troops sent to the border will quietly pass their time drilling in the Texas sunshine. The conspiracy websites and QAnon groups that have been chattering about “the invasion” for weeks will shift their focus, because they aren’t needed anymore. It’s not an accident that Trump lost his temper precisely at the moment when Jim Acosta of CNN posed a direct question about the caravans. The president knows the story was a stunt, and he wants to move on.

The question, in retrospect, is why this particular stunt was deployed. To put it differently: Why did Trump decide to take a nonexistent threat from people a thousand miles away and turn it into the center of the Republican Party’s midterm election campaign? Instead, he could have focused on genuinely good economic news, such as low unemployment or high growth. The economic story might have united people; it might have won his party extra votes. It would certainly have had some impact in the wealthy suburbs that switched, during the election, from red to blue. By contrast, the caravan story, with its elements of fiction and fantasy, divided Americans and turned many against him.

We know a part of the answer. Of course, his aim was to “consolidate the base” in red states — a tactic that helped the Republican Party win, for example, in Missouri. Claire McCaskill, the state’s defeated Democratic senator, told the New York Times that every time she walked into a restaurant in rural Missouri, she saw Fox News showing footage of the caravan. Missouri voters bought into the myth, as well at the myth that Democrats were going to open the borders. But that same tactic was risky, because it also alienated suburban voters, giving the Democrats the edge in New Jersey, Virginia and elsewhere.

But the fiction of the caravan also had another function. Like Trump’s past advocacy of birtherism, this was a myth that bound together his supporters into a community of believers. Those who accepted it had to filter out all counter-evidence to accept the previously unacceptable use of the U.S. military to guard against an invisible foe, to accept the word “invasion.” And now that this community of believers has learned to accept one fantasy, it can easily be primed to accept those that follow. This is a trick that’s been used by autocrats throughout history, and now the U.S. president will use it as well.

Trump’s preplanned decision to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the midterms — by means of an undated resignation letter, clearly written to be used at the president’s will — was a hint of what is coming. At some point in the presumably not too distant future, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is going to submit his final report. Mueller may even indict some more people, maybe some close to Trump. In January, when the new Democratic House of Representatives takes over, further investigations will open, perhaps into Trump’s history of suspected tax fraud, perhaps into his business relationships with Russia. I don’t know which of these things bothers the president most, or what exactly he is hiding. Regardless of the details, he will need tools to deploy when they are revealed.

Unlike President Richard M. Nixon, Trump is not going to resign if the institutions of the state prove that he has broken the law. He can’t resign: To do so would bring down not only his administration but also his business and his reputation, the basis of which is his personal brand. He will try, instead, to break the institutions — and he will need the support of his community of believers to do it.

That’s why his campaign rhetoric wasn’t designed to help the Republican Party: It was designed to provide him with a claque of supporters who have bought into his message that the media are “enemies of the state,” that Democrats promote chaos and mob violence, that only he is protecting them from a nonexistent “invasion.” As he seeks to undermine the Justice Department, to denigrate law enforcement — and above all to stay in office — he will ask those loyalists to put pressure on Congress, to support him on social media, to provide counter-narratives, to back up the fictions he is going to conjure up. That’s how he will, in the words of White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, “fight back.”
posted by scalefree at 9:29 PM on November 11 [62 favorites]


if there is one lesson that i hope people learned from 2016 it’s that voting is a tool to strategically forward your political interests, not a means of self-expression. “protest votes” in a two-party first-past the post system are worse than throwing your vote away, they’re aiding those most opposed to your interests.

vote for the candidate that you love unreservedly in the primary. get bummed if they don’t win. and then hustle to get the winner elected in the general. if you have to hold your nose to pull that lever, you can talk about that after the election.

if you want to express yourself, write a goddamn essay. vote to protect your interests.
posted by murphy slaw at 9:35 PM on November 11 [123 favorites]


“protest votes” in a two-party first-past the post system are worse than throwing your vote away

I agree; I was just pointing out that not all of the not-for-Clinton Democrats voted otherwise out of sexism; some of them voted out of deep misunderstandings of how elections actually work.

It’s not an accident that Trump lost his temper precisely at the moment when Jim Acosta of CNN posed a direct question about the caravans. The president knows the story was a stunt, and he wants to move on.

I wish they'd keep focusing on uncomfortable questions. Has any reporter got an on-camera answer to, "we've heard your campaign slogan, so... when was America great before?"
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:46 PM on November 11 [3 favorites]


Donald Trump to Award Medal of Freedom to Wife of One of His Biggest Donors

Miriam Adelson, 72, was among seven people who will get the Medal of Freedom next week. Her husband is Sheldon Adelson, 85, founder and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, and a vehement supporter of far-right causes.

The award, is given to those “who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security of national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,
Donald Trump.
posted by adept256 at 9:49 PM on November 11 [12 favorites]


Everything is for sale to the highest bidder, if you’re Trump. The dignity of the Presidency, the appointments to high office, the lives of his fellow citizens, the goodwill of the nation, our relationships with our historic allies, our security and standing in the world. Nothing is without its price tag for the slick talker in the cheap suit with shiny trousers, sitting now behind the Resolute Desk.
posted by darkstar at 10:09 PM on November 11 [10 favorites]


Chrysostom/Giant Meteor 2020
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:32 PM on November 11 [35 favorites]


Nadler Says ‘Lackey’ Whitaker Will Be First Witness
The incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee says Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker needs to explain how he can impartially oversee the Mueller probe.
Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York, the likely incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, called the acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, “a complete political lackey.” Speaking Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, Nadler said Whitaker will be “our very first witness” summoned, or subpoenaed if necessary, once the Democrats assume control of the House of Representatives in January. Nadler said he will ask how Whitaker can be trusted to impartially supervise an investigation that he publicly criticized as a cable-news commentator.

“He’s already prejudged the Mueller situation,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic minority leader in the Senate, said on the same program. “If he stays there, he will create a constitutional crisis by inhibiting Mueller or firing Mueller.”

Schumer added that he and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi have sent a letter to the Justice Department’s chief ethics official asking whether Whitaker should recuse himself from overseeing the Russia probe, as Sessions did, drawing Trump’s ire early in his administration. The letter reportedly asks Assistant Attorney General Lee Lofthus, a career official, whether he has already issued guidance on a possible recusal, which would not automatically become mandatory.
posted by scalefree at 11:51 PM on November 11 [12 favorites]




Will Hutton's optimistic view of the mid-terms: The message from the midterms: a new, progressive US is slowly taking shape
But the message of the midterms is that this is not what the vast majority of Americans believe in or want. The majority culture so far has been denied its full expression by the US electoral system. Rural conservative states such as Wyoming and North Dakota, with fewer than a million voters, return the same number of senators as urbanised California with 40 million people.

Add the gerrymander of creating artificial districts with Republican majorities and suppressing the votes of blacks and ex-prisoners and the pro-conservative bias is near complete.

Yet the nearest the US has to a national election where those preferences can be expressed is in the House of Representatives. It now looks more like the US than ever – emphatically controlled by O’Rourke-style liberals with a record number of women, of whom two are Muslim. California and New York are now fiercely Democrat, as are the young, African Americans and Latinos. They enlist social media, not in centralised hothouses and data farms, but in myriad individual networks. They are the future, rejecting wholesale Trump’s rhetoric and values. They and O’Rourke’s charisma could carry the country, making inroads into the rural and smalltown US that its political system so privileges.
posted by mumimor at 1:11 AM on November 12 [12 favorites]


The Guardian links Manafort's GRU handler to Putin's pal Oleg Deripaska: Konstantin Kilimnik: Elusive Russian With Ties To Manafort Faces Fresh Mueller Scrutiny—New details emerge about 48-year-old said to have ties to Russian intelligence, including the use of a private jet owned by an oligarch close to Putin
Interviews with Kilimnik associates, congressional sources, Russia and Ukraine experts, and reviews of records have disclosed previously unreported details about Kilimnik’s work with Manafort and Patten, and other ties to Deripaska, the Russian oligarch friendly with Putin:

• Kilimnik used a jet owned by Deripaska for at least one leg of an oddly timed and brief trip to New York to meet Manafort in early August 2016, according to two sources familiar with congressional investigations. Their meeting took place soon after a meeting that Kilimnik has said he had in Moscow with Deripaska.[...]

• Kilimnik’s work with Manafort dates back longer than is widely known. When Kilimnik was fired from his job heading the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) office in Moscow in early 2005, after he was caught secretly working part-time for Manafort, the pair had been working together for almost a year, two former colleagues said.
Incidentally, security guards turned away the Guardian's reporter when he tried to approach Kilimnik's Moscow home since "Kostya from the GRU" refused to respond to their requests for comment.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:43 AM on November 12 [10 favorites]


the acting chief cop of the USA thinks responding to a federal subpoena is optional. okay.

We've been saying "IOKIYAR" (It's Okay If You're A Republican") for years -- at least thru the George W. Bush Administration and probably preceding it -- as a sarcastic registration of contempt for obvious Republican hypocrisy (and obvious media double standards). But it's essential to realize how seriously many Republicans believe it.

When your core belief is in an in-group that the law protects but does not bind and an out-group that the law binds but does not protect, IOKIYAR sums up exactly what you truly believe, as Whitaker obviously does.

Of course, this belief makes him unfit to work in the Justice Department, even as a janitor, and is entirely anathema to the essential American principle of rule of law. One hopes that two-plus years of Republican malfeasance -- blatant, unapologetic Republican malfeasance -- might create a fertile ground for the media to recognize what its lazy and foolish "balance" reflex has avoided hitherto.
posted by Gelatin at 5:53 AM on November 12 [32 favorites]


Gods help me this really is a real thing that is real. Even Snopes says so.

Trumpy Bear (?!?)

@atrupar I can't believe this commercial that just ran on Fox News is for real
[video]
posted by scalefree at 6:12 AM on November 12 [15 favorites]


I like, and by like I mean hate, how the idea that maybe McSally is "holding back" because she just wants the votes counted accurately isn't even brought up as a possibility. It's as though it's plain inconceivable.

At the same time, the so-called "liberal media" treats Republican claims of voter fraud and excuses for voter suppression and not counting every ballots as if they were made in good faith.
posted by Gelatin at 6:13 AM on November 12 [7 favorites]


This is my surprised face.

In North Korea, Missile Bases Suggest a Great Deception
WASHINGTON — North Korea is moving ahead with its ballistic missile program at 16 hidden bases that have been identified in new commercial satellite images, a network long known to American intelligence agencies but left undiscussed as President Trump claims to have neutralized the North’s nuclear threat.

The satellite images suggest that the North has been engaged in a great deception: It has offered to dismantle a major launching site — a step it began, then halted — while continuing to make improvements at more than a dozen others that would bolster launches of conventional and nuclear warheads.

The existence of the ballistic missile bases, which North Korea has never acknowledged, contradicts Mr. Trump’s assertion that his landmark diplomacy is leading to the elimination of a nuclear and missile program that the North had warned could devastate the United States.

“We are in no rush,” Mr. Trump said of talks with the North at a news conference on Wednesday, after Republicans lost control of the House. “The sanctions are on. The missiles have stopped. The rockets have stopped. The hostages are home.”

His statement was true in just one sense. Mr. Trump appeared to be referring to the halt of missile flight tests, which have not occurred in nearly a year. But American intelligence officials say that the North’s production of nuclear material, of new nuclear weapons and of missiles that can be placed on mobile launchers and hidden in mountains at the secret bases has continued.

And the sanctions are collapsing, in part because North Korea has leveraged its new, softer-sounding relationship with Washington, and its stated commitment to eventual denuclearization, to resume trade with Russia and China.

Moreover, an American program to track those mobile missiles with a new generation of small, inexpensive satellites, disclosed by The New York Times more than a year ago, is stalled. The Pentagon once hoped to have the first satellites over North Korea by now, giving it early warning if the mobile missiles are rolled out of mountain tunnels and prepared for launch.

But because of a series of budget and bureaucratic disputes, the early warning system, begun by the Obama administration and handed off to the Trump administration, has yet to go into operation. Current and former officials, who said they could not publicly discuss the program because it is heavily classified, said there was still hope of launching the satellites, but they offered no timeline.
posted by scalefree at 6:19 AM on November 12 [15 favorites]


Reiterating the frequent request to please identify the source of a link so people can decide if they want to use one of the limited free views of a site like the New York Times or the Washington Post. Thanks.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:29 AM on November 12 [18 favorites]


Of course Trump's reaction to all the negative coverage his Paris trip received was to go on Twitter and brag about what a great success it was and make his usual isolationist threats under his all-caps slogan "Trade must be made FREE and FAIR!". This morning @realDonaldTrump posted, "Just returned from France where much was accomplished in my meetings with World Leaders.", going on to complain about how the US hasn't been treated "fairly", complaining (without basis) about paying for "LARGE portions of other countries military protection", getting only "Trade Deficits and Losses" in return, and concluding with a threat for other countries to either pay for the US's "great military protection" or do it themselves. (Trump or Not Bot calculates a 93–100% chance Trump himself authored these tweets.)

With Macron's European defense coalition getting off the ground (Reuters), and Germany calling for an alternative to US-led global payments infrastructure (Business Insider), Trump is setting the US up to lose either way.

Yeah you're not supposed to use a flag as a blanket, patriots.

The issue of this abominable product's inherent disrespect for the flag aside, its commercial shamelessly portrays their "Ultra Cozy American Flag Themed Blanket" as something (a) their mother-figure cuddles like a security blanket and (b) Trumpy Bear literally wraps around itself while climbing a flagpole. It's almost as grotesque as how Trump has repeatedly hugged the flag at his events.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:32 AM on November 12 [3 favorites]


It’s time for the press to suspend normal relations with the Trump presidency via PRESSTHINK, a project of the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University, written by Jay Rosen.

what the president says is neither automatically newsworthy nor automatically suspect. Rather, it has to be judged in context. Which sounds super-reasonable. Who can be against “context” and case-by-case judgment? But here’s the context: bad actor, cannot be given the benefit of the doubt, no matter what the case is.

“How,” asked Chuck Todd on Meet the Press June 17, “can we believe a president who routinely says things that are provably false?” Instead of treating these questions as unsolvable riddles, Chuck Todd could… suspend normal relations. For Meet the Press, that might mean: don’t accept as guests the people the White House sends out as defenders of the provably false (especially Kellyanne Conway.) If Trump himself is willing to sit down with Chuck Todd, fine. Take him on over his many falsehoods. But no surrogates or fog machines unless they are willing to correct the president.

For the Washington Post it might be declining to participate in so-called background briefings. For NPR, it might be refusing to report false claims by the President unless they are served as a “truth sandwich,” a suggestion recently made by Brian Stelter and Margaret Sullivan, interpreting the work of George Lakoff. For CNN, never going live to a Trump event — on the grounds that you will inevitably broadcast falsehoods if you do — would be a good start.

posted by bluesky43 at 7:37 AM on November 12 [61 favorites]


[Folks, things like weird commercials for products and the proper display of the flag are derails here - if they're really interesting, they can have their own threads. Thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:48 AM on November 12 [4 favorites]


The current President of the United States, trying to directly undermine democracy now, 4:44AM via Twitter:
The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged. An honest vote count is no longer possible ― ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!
Apparently we've moved on from Stupid Watergate to Stupid Bush v. Gore?
posted by LooseFilter at 8:17 AM on November 12 [45 favorites]


I realize we do not need more evidence of this, you are either convinced of it or you are not, but Trump's attempting to undermine the Florida election is yet more proof that the GOP is full shit every time it uses the phrase "states rights"

Do not ever, at any point in the future, fall for this elephant dung. (reference very much intended)
posted by Twain Device at 8:22 AM on November 12 [15 favorites]


Once again, Trump has expressed extreme disrespect for members of the military, in this case by saying that Florida residents serving overseas shouldn't have their ballots counted because he is ignorant of how elections work and is therefore confused by the concept of preliminary, unofficial results not being the final count.

Being the narcissistic Nazi he is, he of course assumes that anything that he doesn't understand must be the result of some vast conspiracy against him. He also doesn't understand that (for better or worse) states count votes, not the federal government, so his opinion on the matter is less than worthless.
posted by wierdo at 8:30 AM on November 12 [23 favorites]


Reiterating the frequent request to please identify the source of a link so people can decide if they want to use one of the limited free views of a site like the New York Times or the Washington Post

Reiterating that using incognito mode gets right past the leaky paywall system NYT and WaPo use. Firefox and Chrome have plugins that will let you automatically open certain sites in incognito automatically.
posted by phearlez at 8:32 AM on November 12 [4 favorites]


NYT:
House Democrats plan to hold early votes on proposals to protect people with pre-existing medical conditions, an issue they continually emphasized in midterm races. The votes will test campaign promises by Republicans who declared their support for such protections.

Democrats will push for the House to intervene in a lawsuit in which 20 states, with support from the Trump administration, are challenging provisions of the Affordable Care Act, including the protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

If the states’ lawsuit succeeds, legislation to shore up the health care law and coverage for people with pre-existing conditions could become a priority for Congress.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:34 AM on November 12 [43 favorites]


large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere

Nice try, chief. Large numbers of ballots showed up out of somewhere—that is, they weren't properly included in the first count, so they need to be counted. Also, what weirdo said about military ballots.
posted by Rykey at 8:34 AM on November 12 [16 favorites]


I've been wondering about the best way to shift cultural expectations about "declaring" election outcomes, which helps normalize this otherwise-abnormal (even by their standards) anti-democracy shit-stirring by the right (because then you can have the perception that some ballots are inherently "later" than others even though many of them are actually the ones cast earlier in the month).

What if some Democrats here and there started a stance of never conceding or accepting a race, no matter how far apart it is, until every last vote is counted? Like, if someone in a very blue but highly-populated district didn't give a victory speech until three days after "Election Night" (or even two weeks if there are overseas ballots to include), some conservatives would call it fishy while some liberals would pull at their hair in frustration. But it may help establish the principle that "Election Night" simply isn't a thing.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:37 AM on November 12 [34 favorites]


I'm racking my brain for a time when "state's rights" has been used as anything other than as a last appeal to a constitutional shibboleth when the wingnut fringe of a state's government decides to do something that's otherwise widely held to be reprehensible.

The current emoluments proceedings I guess? Still haven't heard that phrase trotted out, even though it seems to apply.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:42 AM on November 12


I'm racking my brain for a time when "state's rights" has been used as anything other than as a last appeal to a constitutional shibboleth when the wingnut fringe of a state's government decides to do something that's otherwise widely held to be reprehensible.

Marijuana.
posted by Melismata at 8:44 AM on November 12 [23 favorites]


large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing

So which is it? Are there suddenly extra ballots or are ballots missing? He can't even keep his lies consistent in the same sentence.
posted by Servo5678 at 9:02 AM on November 12 [9 favorites]


What if some Democrats here and there started a stance of never conceding or accepting a race, no matter how far apart it is, until every last vote is counted? Like, if someone in a very blue but highly-populated district didn't give a victory speech until three days after "Election Night" (or even two weeks if there are overseas ballots to include), some conservatives would call it fishy while some liberals would pull at their hair in frustration. But it may help establish the principle that "Election Night" simply isn't a thing.

Democrats Should Remember Al Gore Won Florida in 2000 — But Lost the Presidency With a Preemptive Surrender
posted by homunculus at 9:02 AM on November 12 [46 favorites]


The thing about the Right and "State's Rights" and "Local Control" is that, as more liberal states and urban areas take it upon themselves to just go right on ahead and enact policy that is more in line with the needs/desires of their constituents, it's always Republicans that coming screaming in to Put A Stop To All That. See gun control legislation in every city located in a state with a R-dominated legislature. See basically every single thing ever done in Washington DC.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:06 AM on November 12 [6 favorites]


Yeah, like in the 1960s when the Feds swooped in and said sorry, lunch counters must be desegregated.
posted by Melismata at 9:07 AM on November 12 [4 favorites]


I've been wondering about the best way to shift cultural expectations about "declaring" election outcomes

It's a bootstrapping problem. Having counties declare votes as soon as they're tabulated is meant to dispel the idea of behind-the-scenes shenanigans, but that in turn means that a particular type of vote -- typically in rural counties that aren't massively geographically dispersed -- is treated as more legitimate because those votes come in early during the "Election Night" window.

It's a variant on the "Good/Cheap/Fast: pick two" problem. If you want Good and Fast, the infrastructure isn't going to be cheap. If you go with Cheap and Fast, then the results aren't going to be any good. And that's even before considering how partisans wield far too much power on the conduct of American elections.

Young democracies establish faith in elections through uniform standards.
posted by holgate at 9:13 AM on November 12 [12 favorites]


Trump Completes a Shameful Trip to Paris, Just as He Needs the Global Stage (Robin Wright, New Yorker)
... Trump’s relations with his foreign counterparts are crumbling. The U.S. schism with Europe—where millions of Americans died to preserve allies—has arguably not been this deep since the First World War ended. The gap is wide on existential issues (climate change), global threats (Russia), and war and peace (the Iran nuclear deal). Since Trump took office, Europe has launched discussions on creating military and financial institutions that skirt the United States.

Even the bromance with Macron has ended. Last week, the French President said that Europe needed a regional military, because it could no longer rely on the United States as a partner. On Twitter, Trump slammed Macron’s idea as “very insulting.” The two men tried to make nice in Paris. But in his Armistice speech the French leader openly rebuked Trump’s “America First” agenda. “Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism,” Macron told world leaders. “By saying, ‘Our interests first, who cares about the others,’ we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what gives it grace, and what is essential: its moral values.” Macron warned of “old demons” resurging and endangering chaos. As he spoke, Trump grimaced.

The only leader that the President seemed to connect with at the Armistice ceremony was the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, who showed up late. When he joined the commemoration, the two men smiled at each other. Putin gave Trump a thumbs-up sign.

... Trump’s need for foreign-policy breakthroughs comes as his biggest diplomatic initiatives are either stuck or breaking down. The Helsinki summit with Putin, in July, has produced nothing on arms control, Ukraine, or Syria. The Middle East peace plan designed by Jared Kushner has been repeatedly delayed. Since the Singapore summit, in June, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, has not provided an inventory of his nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons or ballistic missiles—much less explained how or when they will be destroyed. The scheduled meeting in New York last week between the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and his North Korean counterpart, Kim Yong Chol, was abruptly cancelled—and is not expected until next year. Earlier this month, North Korea warned that it could restart “building up its nuclear forces” if U.S. sanctions are not removed soon.

Trump is also spurning diplomatic opportunities. He opted out of two other summits this week in Asia, a pivotal venue given China’s growing dynamism and the North Korea initiative. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation—twenty-one members that border the Pacific Rim—accounts for more than forty per cent of world trade and more than half of the world’s total G.D.P. It will meet in Papua New Guinea. The smaller summit, of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, will be held in Singapore. Other world leaders, including Putin and the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, will attend one or both summits. Trump will be at neither; Vice-President Pence flew out on Sunday in his stead.

The next test of whether Trump can wring out a foreign-policy success will be the annual G-20 meeting of the world’s biggest economies, which will open in Buenos Aires on November 30th. Trump is scheduled to hold talks with both Putin and Xi. “There are powerful reasons why Trump will be more engaged after the election, not least because he has more room for maneuver abroad than he will at home,” Daalder told me. “It is those bilateral meetings, where his goal is to win, that will continue to be his focus. Plenty for him to do, even if the chances of success in all of them are slim.”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:16 AM on November 12 [8 favorites]


Cleveland Plain Dealer: Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio is weighing a presidential run
In an interview with cleveland.com, Brown said that he's heard from an "overwhelming" number of people who have told him he should think of a presidential run, and that he and his family intend to discuss it over the holidays, when his children and grandchildren will be around.

"This will very much be a family decision," said Brown. "It would affect a decade of our lives. It is a very personal, serious decision."

He said he believes the message of worker empowerment that he espoused in this year's re-election should be a blueprint for the national Democrats to win back the White House in 2020 and that he'd be happy if his message is adopted by other Democrats running for president.

"My message clearly appeals to Democrats, Republicans and independents," said Brown. "We showed you can get votes by being authentic and standing up for workers. People in Washington don't understand the dignity of work."
(i know we probably don't need a comment for every single democratic presidential hopeful to crawl out of the woodwork, but this is Adorably Rumpled Sherrod Brown we're talking about)
posted by murphy slaw at 9:17 AM on November 12 [12 favorites]


The thing about the Right and "State's Rights" and "Local Control" is that, as more liberal states and urban areas take it upon themselves to just go right on ahead and enact policy that is more in line with the needs/desires of their constituents, it's always Republicans that coming screaming in to Put A Stop To All That. See gun control legislation in every city located in a state with a R-dominated legislature. See basically every single thing ever done in Washington DC.

And see net neutrality legislation in California.
posted by duoshao at 9:21 AM on November 12 [9 favorites]


Trump Completes a Shameful Trip to Paris, Just as He Needs the Global Stage (Robin Wright, New Yorker)

Yeah, so we're going to do this again? You can't shame someone who doesn't feel shame.

Oh, but we'll report on him as someone who does! Let's talk about how strong he is, what with resisting the shame and all.
posted by rhizome at 9:38 AM on November 12 [7 favorites]


Brown doesn't really look his age, but he will be 68 in 2020. No. No Boomers. Sorry. The US had Boomers run in their 40s (Clinton), 50s (W Bush) and now their 70s. Can't go from presidents born in the 1940s to ones born in the 1950s.

These early 2020 rumblings are ridiculous, and yet there'd be value in Dems having an early sense of clarity about the field for the next two years, and the meta-argument about the consequences of gerontocracy would be part of that.
posted by holgate at 9:43 AM on November 12 [21 favorites]


In my beloved Oregon, ballots must be *received* by Election Day, rather than posted. Additionally, for those who wish to vote after the Postal Service delivery deadline, there are official ballot drop boxes all over the place. Every library has a drop box, and many other public places have them too. The one I like to use is at a McDonald’s.

Resulting context: voting is easy and results can usually be reported on Election Day.

In California and Washington, ballots can trickle in from the USPS over a period of days or weeks and the count drags on and on.
posted by chrchr at 9:44 AM on November 12 [6 favorites]


I'm not convinced that "counting is done faster" is necessarily an asset.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:45 AM on November 12 [7 favorites]


NPR: House Democrats are vowing their first bill will establish automatic voter registration, give redistricting powers to independent commissions over state legislatures and mandate more strict campaign finance disclosures.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:47 AM on November 12 [124 favorites]


House Democrats are vowing their first bill will establish automatic voter registration, give redistricting powers to independent commissions over state legislatures and mandate more strict campaign finance disclosures.

Dead in the water. States rights will be an endless font of pushback, not to mention the voting machines remain untouched by legislation. I'd argue that's as big a problem as any of those.

Sure, everybody wants their hobbyhorse petted, but the fact that Dems choose only items that have no third-party interest (whatever Diebold is called now) seems telling. Maybe it's a simple calculus of priorites and likelihood of passage, maybe it's cowering. I mean, after all the bullshit with voting machines this election and nary a peep? Also telling.
posted by rhizome at 9:54 AM on November 12 [5 favorites]


Dead in the water.

Before the extremely brief window where we thought Dems might take more than the House, I seem to remember months and months of people saying "when the Dems take the House they should put forth all kinds of good bills they know won't ultimately pass, as a concrete demonstration of what the Rs keep blocking and as a promise of what they'll try for once they have the power to implement it." But now it's back to "there's no point so let's not even bother"?
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:59 AM on November 12 [132 favorites]


Dead in the water

Very little the House passes will pass in the Senate. That doesn't mean there isn't value in the House passing it.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:01 AM on November 12 [66 favorites]


Dead in the water.
Yep as dead in the water as the ACA, gay marriage and legalizing marijuana was. No chance whatsoever.
posted by Harry Caul at 10:01 AM on November 12 [37 favorites]


Democrats Should Remember Al Gore Won Florida in 2000 — But Lost the Presidency With a Preemptive Surrender

He didn't lose because of a preemptive surrender, he lost because he didn't ask for a statewide recount of all the votes. The Supreme Court's intervention was bullshit, but Gore would've lost the recount it stopped.

It's true that more people voted for Gore in Florida in 2000, and he would have won a statewide recount, but that was never an option.

He should have taken the position that all votes be counted, and not conceded until that happened.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:05 AM on November 12 [21 favorites]


It is both dead in the water and should still be done. Get every last Rep on record as to how they feel about vote suppression and gerrymandering.
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:06 AM on November 12 [28 favorites]


I'd love to see a series of televised hearings on all of the issues in that bill before anything gets brought to the floor, there are a lot of voices that need to be amplified on these topics, and a lot of shady groups involved that need to be publicly shown for what they are.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:09 AM on November 12 [4 favorites]


But now it's back to "there's no point so let's not even bother"?

No, it's about being more vicious about righting wrongs rather than making rhetorical points.

"Ooooh, we'll show everybody what legislative bummers those Republican are!" [tries to pull foot out of wood chipper]
posted by rhizome at 10:11 AM on November 12 [1 favorite]


House Democrats plan to hold early votes on proposals to protect people with pre-existing medical conditions, an issue they continually emphasized in midterm races. The votes will test campaign promises by Republicans who declared their support for such protections.

Note how the NYT slyly implies here that Republicans, despite their repeated promises on the campaign trail, actually don't support coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. You don't say.

At least, not enough.
posted by Gelatin at 10:15 AM on November 12 [1 favorite]


Reiterating that using incognito mode gets right past the leaky paywall system NYT and WaPo use.

Hmmm...I don't know what's going on with me personally, but that isn't always working for me any more (but I don't want to waste a click to find exactly what "You have 3 free articles left even though you think you're in incognito mode" text shows up to share here), which is why I wish I could get some warning. I know, I know NOBODY WANTS TO, but still. My work actually now has free NYT subscriptions for all but you can only read it while AT work, which, uh... WaPo also used to do that for my work but for some reason it doesn't work any more and I've never been able to find any news as to what changed.

With regards to Sherrod Brown, I loved the book by his wife, Connie Schultz, called "And His Lovely Wife" about what it's like to be a political wife. I'd be very curious to see how she feels about a presidential run.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:16 AM on November 12 [4 favorites]


the democratic party leadership has poor moral values and is moreover out of touch with their base and with the people of the united states in general. It’s okay. It happens.

So we gotta protest them relentlessly. we gotta support insurgent groups currently acting within the Democratic Party, the most prominent of which is currently the DSA. If you are lucky enough to have a center-left representative, call them again and again and again to pressure them to support left legislation, even if it’ll die in the senate. Give money to potential democratic party primary challengers against center-right incumbents the second those challengers appear. In short, put the fear of Marx into the bastards.

The Democratic Party leadership isn’t something to follow. It’s something to bully.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:19 AM on November 12 [19 favorites]


No, it's about being more vicious about righting wrongs rather than making rhetorical points.

i'm not sure what your prescription for the democratic legislation in the house would be, then? very little that would forward the democratic agenda will be able to get past the senate. the stuff that will is likely to be so anodyne that it won't excite any voters at all.

the job of the House at this point is to investigate the administration, block egregious legislation that started in the senate, and provide a road map demonstrating what a democratic government will achieve if it takes the steering wheel of government. all of these are important.
posted by murphy slaw at 10:24 AM on November 12 [53 favorites]


the job of the House at this point is to investigate the administration, block egregious legislation that started in the senate, and provide a road map demonstrating what a democratic government will achieve if it takes the steering wheel of government. all of these are important.


Not to mention drawing a stark contrast between what Democrats and Republicans actually stand for, and giving the latter no cover to pretend "they care" about people with pre-existing conditions. So what; you still voted to take their health care away.
posted by Gelatin at 10:30 AM on November 12 [9 favorites]


I'm not convinced that "counting is done faster" is necessarily an asset.

Sure, but I would assert that there’s an advantage to knowing when you have a complete set of ballots. In Oregon, we know that all valid ballots are in the custody of election officials at 8pm on Election Day.
posted by chrchr at 10:33 AM on November 12 [2 favorites]




Can we stop with the defeatism and the Negative Nigel whining about "Dummycrats R Useless!" And we wonder why so many potential Democratic voters stay home! We can't even savor a victory - and it was a victory, a blue wave - without the "womp womp" of defeatism before we've even seated our new House members and state legislators!

I love Metafilter, and the politics thread. But the pessimism and defeatism can get out of hand. We didn't get to a Republican-controlled government overnight; we rested on our laurels after Obama was elected and let our post-2006 gains slip away. (I blame Rahm Emmanuel, who hated Howard Dean and the 50-state strategy, and ruthlessly squelched it after he became Obama's chief of staff. We've paid the price.) Now we've made a great start in reclaiming local and state governments, and we have a blue House filled with more progressives, women, POC and religious diversity. We haven't seen what the leadership will do yet!

As for the Senate - we're still in the minority there, elections have consequences, so we are going to have to do the best we can with what we have.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:43 AM on November 12 [83 favorites]


In Oregon, we know that all valid ballots are in the custody of election officials at 8pm on Election Day.

Does this include overseas ballots?
posted by Chrysostom at 10:43 AM on November 12 [1 favorite]


Hmmm...I don't know what's going on with me personally, but that isn't always working for me any more (but I don't want to waste a click to find exactly what "You have 3 free articles left even though you think you're in incognito mode" text shows up to share here), which is why I wish I could get some warning. I know, I know NOBODY WANTS TO, but still. My work actually now has free NYT subscriptions for all but you can only read it while AT work, which, uh... WaPo also used to do that for my work but for some reason it doesn't work any more and I've never been able to find any news as to what changed.

Disable ad-block for the sites. It seems to be sensitive to that. ( I use a network based DNS solution too, a pi-hole, so I still don't see the ads, but the javascript triggers aren't fired, so it shows up without the counter ). Sometimes Privacy Badger is stopping a cookie that it wants, too..
posted by mikelieman at 10:44 AM on November 12 [1 favorite]


In Oregon, we know that all valid ballots are in the custody of election officials at 8pm on Election Day.

Does this include overseas ballots?


Yes. Military and overseas voters can also elect to return ballots by fax or email if they can't mail them back in time to make the 8pm deadline.
posted by SpaceBass at 10:50 AM on November 12 [5 favorites]


i'm not sure what your prescription for the democratic legislation in the house would be

I am not whom you are replying to, but I'll take a stab at this:

1) Craft each bill as narrowly as possible. e.g.: "Extend Medicare Eligibility 1 year downward.", with a clear appeal ( provide healthcare security for an additional x number of Americans )

2) Pass it in the House.

3) IF the Republican senate passes it, go to step 1 with another narrow issue, otherwise, record all the Republicans against Healthcare Security.

4) Make a minor change in the House. e.g.: Extend Medicare Eligibility 2 years downward.", with more appeal
( Shoulda passed the first iteration Republicans... )

5) Goto step 2


The House does what it's supposed to do ( and there's plenty of room for the oversight committees ), and the bad-guys are clearly identified. And look at this huge list of their obstruction for the campaign ads next cycle...
posted by mikelieman at 10:54 AM on November 12 [16 favorites]


3) IF the Republican senate passes it, go to step 1 with another narrow issue, otherwise, record all the Republicans against Healthcare Security.

And even if they do, confident in Trump vetoing it (which he probably would, but at desperate as he is for approval and to brag about "making deals," maybe not?), then put the same bill back up for an override, even if it's doomed. Hey presto, Republicans vote against heathcare security after all.
posted by Gelatin at 10:58 AM on November 12 [9 favorites]


Earlier this morning Trump went to ground after returning from Paris, the WaPo's Josh Dawsey reports: A lid at 10 AM. Trump will have no movements today, per White House. (Which means no Veteran's Day trip to Arlington for the jet-lagged Donald.)

And now ABC reports Michael Cohen arrived in Washington, D.C., Monday morning, accompanied by one of his criminal defense lawyers. He declined to answer questions from @ABC about why he was there. https://abcn.ws/2DAKwyQ

It feels like something's in the air (and not just a forecast of rain).
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:01 AM on November 12 [39 favorites]


Trump will have no movements today

TMI!
posted by murphy slaw at 11:05 AM on November 12 [56 favorites]


When it comes to election reform, tackling the gestalt as planned by Pelosi and the Dems is, I think, much better than going through individual issues would be.

Americans, generalized as a group, tend to come at election reform with a kind of quasi-optimism bias that "things can't really be all that bad". They see ID as a small inconvenience at best, while they do support extending the time window beyond a single day because even middle-class white people dislike fitting a visit to the polls into their Tuesday.

But they tend not to even be aware that Voter ID laws are usually coupled with the shuttering of DMVs because the difficulty was the only real purpose. By discussing the larger principles rather than piecemeal issues, you advance the conversation better (which is all that can be hoped for as a first step right now, nationally).
posted by InTheYear2017 at 11:06 AM on November 12 [5 favorites]


NPR: House Democrats are vowing their first bill will establish automatic voter registration, give redistricting powers to independent commissions over state legislatures and mandate more strict campaign finance disclosures.

I'm all for these. Honest question, though: How much say does the federal government have over how states conduct elections? Could the federal government specify every little detail and process?
posted by scottatdrake at 11:19 AM on November 12 [1 favorite]


That issue is one of the many indications that this bill is definitely not designed to pass and be enacted as law. See also: It would repeal Citizens United by statute, which doesn't work since the case was about the meaning of the First Amendment.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:21 AM on November 12 [1 favorite]


How much say does the federal government have over how states conduct elections? Could the federal government specify every little detail and process?

The simplest way to do it is to tie it to federal funding. This is how the federal government can do things like set the drinking age at 21: not directly, but by denying (10% of) federal transportation funds to states that don't comply. See South Dakota v. Dole.
posted by jedicus at 11:23 AM on November 12 [4 favorites]


PSA: Americans do not get to make fun of the French Army ever again. (Hit the translate link if you need. It's worthwhile.)
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:27 AM on November 12 [8 favorites]




Obama honored Veterans Day by laying wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery.

Trump celebrates Veterans Day with a 40% off sale on MAGA merchandise. Promotion code? Honor.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:42 AM on November 12 [39 favorites]


Trump celebrates Veterans Day with a 40% off sale on MAGA merchandise. Promotion code? Honor.

with these kinds of prices, VALOR is a STEAL!
posted by murphy slaw at 11:43 AM on November 12 [45 favorites]


murphy slaw: "(i know we probably don't need a comment for every single democratic presidential hopeful to crawl out of the woodwork, but this is Adorably Rumpled Sherrod Brown we're talking about)"

Probably our first candidate described as "rumpled" since Wendell Willkie.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:51 AM on November 12 [1 favorite]


Robert Costa, a week ago:
a new term today from McConnell, when talking about scrutiny of President Trump by congressional Democrats: "presidential harassment"

He repeats it a few times at this news conference. Clearly a new talking point.
Today, @realDonaldTrump: "The prospect of Presidential Harassment by the Dems is causing the Stock Market big headaches!"
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:53 AM on November 12 [11 favorites]


a new term today from McConnell, when talking about scrutiny of President Trump by congressional Democrats: "presidential harassment"

Notice how, just as with "fake news" and "voter suppression," Trump is taking harrassment from #metoo and trying to turn it around to benefit him. Will the media let him get away with it this time?
posted by Gelatin at 11:57 AM on November 12 [8 favorites]


"voter fraud" is their watchword, "voter suppression" is ours.
posted by murphy slaw at 11:59 AM on November 12


My 83-year-old Mom made it to Times Square.

(She made it to DC in 1989 too; that sign read “Post-Menopausal Woman Nostalgic For Choice”.)

posted by nicwolff at 5:32 PM on November 9 [88 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


That is flat-out baller.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:04 PM on November 12 [19 favorites]


"Harassment" in this context means "not letting the rich white man do whatever he wants, free of resistance or even criticism."
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:09 PM on November 12 [9 favorites]


I’m old enough to remember when my (soon-to-retire) Republican Representative campaigned almost solely on fulfilling his Constitutional responsibility of harassing the President.
posted by Etrigan at 12:14 PM on November 12 [38 favorites]


Mitch McConnell knows all there is to know about "presidential harassment."
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:24 PM on November 12 [12 favorites]


The prospect of Presidential Harassment by the Dems is causing the Stock Market big headaches!
The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.
-- Teddy Roosevelt
posted by kirkaracha at 12:26 PM on November 12 [56 favorites]




"voter fraud" is their watchword, "voter suppression" is ours.

Republicans are already referring to attempts to actually count votes as "vote suppression."
posted by Gelatin at 12:38 PM on November 12 [11 favorites]


Is there anything in the pipeline to actually stop counting the votes? Are Dems holding strong in the face of these threats? This is going to be a trial run for the 2020 election. We already saw Trump parrot Russian bot talking points in not conceding the election and claiming “voter fraud”. They’re already able to suppress votes and throw out votes for ridiculous reasons, but being able to stop acounting “legitimate” votes and just picking winners is a new level.
posted by gucci mane at 12:45 PM on November 12 [2 favorites]


It is both dead in the water and should still be done. Get every last Rep on record as to how they feel about vote suppression and gerrymandering.

Prediction: the Republicans will mumble something incoherent about how the bill is a deceptive ploy by George Soros to gerrymander in favor of the liberal elitist antifa Muslim Communist Democrats, and their base will go "oh, okay, dodged a bullet there."

(Seriously, the attempt to discredit Missouri Amendment 1 did blame George Soros... I think. It was a bit too word-salad-esque to make any actual sense.)
posted by Foosnark at 12:46 PM on November 12 [5 favorites]


Amendment 1 was approved 62-38, though, while McCaskill was losing by 6 points. So, I feel like voting rights can be a vote-getter.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:08 PM on November 12 [13 favorites]


Prediction: the Republicans will mumble something incoherent about how the bill is a deceptive ploy by George Soros to gerrymander in favor of the liberal elitist antifa Muslim Communist Democrats, and their base will go "oh, okay, dodged a bullet there."

Oh, I'm sure they will. They can spin it however they want, and I'm positive it'll be mind-gibberingly ridiculous. Be that as it may, get them on the record with their nonsense with a Yea or Nay.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:11 PM on November 12 [3 favorites]


Agreed, Chrysostom, and this is likely the best model for more lasting reforms. State constitutional amendments that serve to guarantee and expand enfranchisement in voting. Independent redistricting, expanded registration, etc. Even in red-leaning states, such amendments clearly can get passed, making it a harder go for Republicans in Washington to suppress votes in those states that they otherwise control.
posted by darkstar at 1:13 PM on November 12 [4 favorites]


If we're going to have an old white dude in the 2020 field, I'd much rather the Old White Guy Slot go to Sherrod Brown than Joe Biden. People forget how truly terrible Biden's Senate record was as the Senator For The Credit Card Company from Delaware, and that's without all the Creepy Uncle Joe stuff that's bound to come out in the metoo era and re-watching him run the Anita Hill disgrace. And don't mention he was a principal architect of the failed War on Drugs.

Brown is shockingly liberal for continuing to win in Ohio. He basically has a sparkingly record of support for nearly every progressive cause. In the 110th Senate Brown was the 5th most liberal Senator by DW-Nominate and 10th in the 113th Senate. Biden was 27th in the 110th Senate, the last before becoming VP, and averaged 38th over the course of his career.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:18 PM on November 12 [41 favorites]


Amendment 1 was approved 62-38, though, while McCaskill was losing by 6 points. So, I feel like voting rights can be a vote-getter.

It's worth remembering, in that same sense, that 'voter fraud' works as a dog-whistle in large part because people really do care about voting as a process -- it's just that a lot of people are very, very wrong about how to best to protect voting. People, by and large, don't actually want voter suppression to happen, which is why Republican officials have to shroud their attempts in voter-positive language.
posted by cjelli at 1:21 PM on November 12 [6 favorites]


Amendment 1 was approved 62-38, though, while McCaskill was losing by 6 points. So, I feel like voting rights can be a vote-getter.

Prop A (Right to Work) lost by about the same margin when Greitens spite moved it to the primary election day.

Missouri u make no sense.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 1:23 PM on November 12 [4 favorites]




I would be approximately 10,000 times more likely to support Sherrod Brown than Joe Biden. Approximately 10 million times more likely. Brown is actually not a terrible idea.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:49 PM on November 12 [10 favorites]


Ha ha ha ha ha ha! HA HA HA! I just realised today was the day Trump was supposed to visit Ireland. Glad I don't have to be dealing with that shit today. There is hope people. There is still some hope.
posted by Elmore at 1:59 PM on November 12 [4 favorites]




Yeah, that's just plain perjury, friendo.

When you realize the "perjury trap" is a thing the accused is good at.
posted by rhizome at 2:10 PM on November 12 [1 favorite]


I would be approximately 10,000 times more likely to support Sherrod Brown than Joe Biden. Approximately 10 million times more likely. Brown is actually not a terrible idea.

He's in "this is something we’ll talk about as a family" mode at this point.

But much as I like Adorably Rumpled Sherrod Brown, and I know his ex has been supportive of his last several campaigns and all, but I'd like to register a strong preference at this point to not have a Presidential debate that consists of two white male boomers arguing about who was more abusive to their spouses decades ago.
posted by zachlipton at 2:11 PM on November 12 [26 favorites]


@KenDilanianNBCBREAKING: Roger Stone pal Jerome Corsi tells my colleague @annaschecter that Mueller's investigators informed Corsi about a week ago he will be indicted for perjury.

Marcy Wheeler notes: "What's interesting about this is Corsi said he spent all day Friday with his lawyers. Did he consider pleading but now will contest it?"

And "As I laid out here, there's circumstantial reason to believe that Corsi and Stone learned not just THAT WL would drop Podesta emails, but that they included ones pertaining to Joule attack Bannon had already started, in August 2016. [Yes, that's when Kostya from the GRU visited Manafort.—ed.] Importantly, Corsi renewed that attack on October 6, 2016, the day before the Podesta emails came out, and 5 days before the stolen emails in question came out."

Incidentally, CNN's Russia investigation reporter Marshall Cohen points out: "Today is a federal holiday, but at least five of Robert Mueller's prosecutors are working today at their office in downtown DC. (h/t @emsteck)"

No wait—"Update: At least eight Mueller prosecutors worked today."

Also, from NPR's Tim Mak: "Maria Butina marked her 30th birthday in jail, with a visit by Russian diplomats from the embassy, per Russian news org TASS"
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:18 PM on November 12 [23 favorites]


Mike Pompeo, Foreign Affairs, Confronting Iran: The Trump Administration’s Strategy
The president’s own public communications themselves function as a deterrence mechanism. The all-caps tweet he directed at Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in July, in which he instructed Iran to stop threatening the United States, was informed by a strategic calculation: the Iranian regime understands and fears the United States’ military might.
@benjaminwittes: Is it just me or is the Secretary of State in this article actually suggesting that the president's tweeting in allcaps deters the Iranian regime?
posted by zachlipton at 2:21 PM on November 12 [11 favorites]


rhizome: "I mean, after all the bullshit with voting machines this election and nary a peep?"

There are several bills floating around about voting machines; in the Senate, Klobuchar's Secure Elections Act.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:22 PM on November 12 [1 favorite]


Corsi's doing a livestream, if you want to see what someone making a series of increasingly poor decisions looks like.
posted by zachlipton at 2:23 PM on November 12 [10 favorites]


Today, @realDonaldTrump: "The prospect of Presidential Harassment by the Dems is causing the Stock Market big headaches!"

Use a dictionary FFS. We will go with Daniel Webster's since this is an American thang:

1 a : of, relating to, or befitting a president or a president's authority
presidential duties/responsibilities

b : of or relating to the election of a president

c : performing functions delegated by or under the authority of a president

2 : of, based upon, or having the characteristics of presidential government

Presidential harassment is either harassment by a president or harassment in a manner befitting a president.

Now I am not a full on prescriptivist but this latest Republican use seems to me to be a weird and awkward stretch.
posted by srboisvert at 2:30 PM on November 12 [13 favorites]


Now I am not a full on prescriptivist but this latest Republican use seems to me to be a weird and awkward stretch.

When you want something to stick in the mind of those you're trying to manipulate, to hell with grammar: use as few words as possible.
posted by Brak at 2:34 PM on November 12 [1 favorite]


Corsi's doing a livestream , if you want to see what someone making a series of increasingly poor decisions looks like.

Oh, good grief, is this going to be Sam Nunberg all over again?

Shareblue's Caroline Orr is live-tweeting Corsi's streaming meltdown: “Jerome Corsi, speaking of his talks with Mueller's team: "The entire negotiations...have just blown up. I fully anticipate that in the next few days I will be indicted for some form or other of giving false information."” and “Jerome Corsi: "To the best of my knowledge, I've never met Julian Assange."”

The Atlantic's Natasha Bertrand adds: “Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi on his livestream: “I’m gonna be indicted. That’s what we’re told. I’m fully expecting it.” He then asks for donations to his legal defense fund.” (#NeverStopGrifting)

And: "Corsi says he was questioned extensively about a trip he took to Italy with his wife 2 years ago...he says it was for their anniversary."

Meanwhile CNBC checks in on Michael Cohen: Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen takes the train to Washington to talk to special counsel Robert Mueller's team
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:35 PM on November 12 [10 favorites]


Beast, Heather Nauert Isn’t U.N. Ambassador Yet, but State Department Staff Say She’s Got One Foot Out the Door: Should she ultimately get the gig, it would be another blow for a State Department that has struggled for two years to fill numerous key vacancies.

There's a story in here described as "the Pompeo cheese incident," which is too many paragraphs to pullquote, but nicely sums up how petty these people are.
posted by zachlipton at 2:37 PM on November 12 [11 favorites]


The simplest way to do it is to tie it to federal funding. This is how the federal government can do things like set the drinking age at 21: not directly, but by denying (10% of) federal transportation funds to states that don't comply. See South Dakota v. Dole.

Now a foolish consistency could well be the hobgoblin of small legal minds but several states are fighting against this in the Sanctuary city kerfuffle.

State's rights. What a mess.
posted by srboisvert at 2:43 PM on November 12 [1 favorite]


Without Murdoch, There is No Trump (Jeff Jarvis)

In which a hapless CNN hosehead defends Fox News from mean ol' Bill deBlasio.

I will not mince words: Rupert Murdoch has single-handedly brought American democracy to ruin. Cable news — especially CNN — made its business on conflict and the rest of media built theirs on clickbait but only Fox News is built to — in de Blasio’s words — “sensationalize, racialize, and divide.” Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. are specifically to blame. How can any civilized soul, let alone a media correspondent, not have heard Laura Ingraham’s bilious racist rant last week and then demanded in all caps and bold: HOW THE FUCK IS THIS ON TELEVISION? WHO ALLOWS THIS? Murdoch does.

... This is not going to go away of its own accord, as if the nation one day wakes up from this nightmare, hits itself upside the head, and asks: “What were we thinking?” This is going to go away only through exposing what is happening. You’d think journalists would be the first to understand that.


I do think journalists understand that, and there's not a damned thing they can do about it. Right Zuck? (NYT)
posted by petebest at 2:49 PM on November 12 [11 favorites]


@esquires1215, replying to Bertrand re Corsi's trip to Italy two years ago, in that Twitter thread: I wonder what the dates were? Michael Cohen was in Italy July 9-17, 2016.

Cohen showed his passport to Buzzfeed last year, when he denied he'd ever been to Prague:
The stamps indicate he traveled abroad at least four times in 2016: twice to London, once to St. Maarten, and once to Italy in July. The Italian trip is the most intriguing, because it places Cohen in what’s known as the Schengen Area: a group of 26 European countries, including the Czech Republic, that allows visitors to travel freely among them without getting any additional passport stamps.

Upon entering the Schengen Area, visitors get a rectangular stamp with the date, a country code, their port of entry, and a symbol showing how they entered — such as an airplane or a train. In Cohen’s passport, that mark appears on page 17, with a date of July 9. The mark is too faint to be fully legible. The exit stamp, similar but with rounded edges, is also light, but the letters “cino” are legible, indicating he flew out of Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport in Rome. That stamp is dated July 17.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:49 PM on November 12 [15 favorites]


David Roth, This Is All Donald Trump Has Left
The culture has been inching further and further into Trump’s gilded funhouse for years now, and you surely do not need me to tell you that it fucking sucks in there. But we are, by now, all the way in. Trump is nearly as ubiquitous in the culture as he has always believed he should be; the one deeply held belief that has been evident throughout his whole faithless disgrace of a life is people should be talking about Donald Trump more, on television, and he has just about seen that part through. All Trump wants, all he has ever wanted, is to be able to keep doing and taking and saying whatever he wants whenever he wants. He ran for president for this reason and this reason only.

His politics, to the extent that they’ve ever been legible, have always been off-the-rack big city tabloid bullshit—crudely racist exterminate the brutes/back the blue authoritarianism in the background and ruthless petty rich person squabbling in the front. His actions since becoming president have been those of a dim, cruel child playacting at being a powerful—giving orders without quite knowing what they mean or how they might be carried out, taunting enemies, beating up the people he can afford to beat up without having to be called to account for it, lying as needed or just for yuks. He hasn’t changed a thing since graduating from punchline to president. It’s been clear for decades that Trump was both an asshole and a dummy; this is now a problem not just for the odd unlucky cocktail waitress and his staff of cheesy apparatchiks but literally every person on earth.

Presidents exert a kind of ambient influence on the culture, but as Trump is different than previous presidents his influence necessarily feels different. Barack Obama wanted to be a cosmopolitan leader who brought people together and into a deeper empathy through a mastery of reason and rules; the country he governed doesn’t works like that, though, and the tension between that cool vision and this seething reality grew and grew. By the end, his presidency had the feeling of a prestige television show in its fifth season—handsomely produced and reliably well-performed but ultimately not really as sure what it was about as it first appeared to be. Trump has no such pretense or noble aspiration, and has only made the country more like himself; living in his America feels like being trapped in a garish casino that is filling with seawater, because that is what it is.
posted by zachlipton at 2:50 PM on November 12 [98 favorites]


This Is All Donald Trump Has Left

He looks unusually...human-colored in that photo. Did he run out of orange bronzer?
posted by kirkaracha at 2:57 PM on November 12 [2 favorites]


David Roth, This Is All Donald Trump Has Left

I enjoyed that. As much as I hate to think about Trump, it's important as a culture that we understand what is happening and have words and names to explain what circle of hell we're in.
posted by chaz at 3:10 PM on November 12 [8 favorites]


@esquires1215, replying to Bertrand re Corsi's trip to Italy two years ago, in that Twitter thread: I wonder what the dates were? Michael Cohen was in Italy July 9-17, 2016.

Natasha Bertrand: "Yes, Italy seems significant. It’s also where Papadopoulos met Joseph Mifsud in 2016."

(n.b. Papadopoulos' new wife, the mysterious Italian national Simona Mangiante, worked for the even more mysterious Prof. Mifsud, though she claims that she never discussed Mifsud with him and that it was only after she had stopped working for Mifsud that they met in person).
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:14 PM on November 12 [11 favorites]


Matt Drudge deleted his twitter account history. Was he involved in disseminating wikileaks stuff? I don't read Drudge.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:16 PM on November 12 [3 favorites]


> There's a story in here described as "the Pompeo cheese incident ...

When the current unpleasantness is long past, and our descendants living in domed cities on the barren hellscape of the former Earth turn to mindless soap operas for entertainment, "The Pompeo Cheese Incident" will be an episode title in their hit period tragi-comedy about the early 21st century.

At a guess, the show will be called "The Grifters".

(And yeah, "The Missing Professor Mifsud", sure, why not.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 3:17 PM on November 12 [8 favorites]


It fascinates me that these people think deleting your account history on Twitter actually deletes anything. It just marks it not visible. It's still 100% available for subpoena.
posted by zrail at 3:18 PM on November 12 [16 favorites]


David Roth, This Is All Donald Trump Has Left

Very much in the spirit of H S Thompson, back when he was a wonderful writer, and necessary to actual, real journalism.

I just wish staid, confirming enablers like the NYT would publish things like this, but respectability at all costs, even though the world we live in as far as politics go, has very little these days.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 3:21 PM on November 12 [5 favorites]


It fascinates me that these people think deleting your account history on Twitter actually deletes anything. It just marks it not visible. It's still 100% available for subpoena.

I don't think they're actually under that assumption (as stupid as they in fact seem to be). It's more what Giuliani straight up admitted to a couple months ago: this is going to be fought in the court of public opinion, not law.
posted by Room 101 at 3:23 PM on November 12 [8 favorites]


Looking through the internet archive of Drudge's Twitter account, it looks like he tweets and deletes. Going back to last year it seems that the most tweets he's ever had is 3 or so.
posted by sporkwort at 3:26 PM on November 12


drudge is in the game of “hot scoops” and innuendo - and when that’s your biz, having your words out there for critique longer than the moment they grab attention is an active liability
posted by murphy slaw at 3:38 PM on November 12 [7 favorites]


I just wish staid, confirming enablers like the NYT would publish things like this, but respectability at all costs, even though the world we live in as far as politics go, has very little these days.

Confirming Enabler Maggie Habermann wrote a gossip column about some petty photo-op rivalry between Ivanka and Melania. That's the NYT we got.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 3:41 PM on November 12 [7 favorites]


Newly revealed North Korean missile bases cast doubt on value of Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un
On Monday, a new report from a Washington think tank identified more than a dozen hidden bases in North Korea that could be used to disperse mobile launchers for ballistic missiles in the event of a conflict.

Are these bases evidence that North Korea is cheating on the agreement it reached in June, when President Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore? Analysts say the answer is no — although there are plenty of caveats.

“Kim hasn’t broken any promises," said Jeffrey Lewis, a nonproliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterrey. "Instead, he’s making good on one of them — to mass produce nuclear weapons.”
posted by kirkaracha at 3:51 PM on November 12 [3 favorites]


He didn't lose because of a preemptive surrender, he lost because he didn't ask for a statewide recount of all the votes. The Supreme Court's intervention was bullshit, but Gore would've lost the recount it stopped.

It's true that more people voted for Gore in Florida in 2000, and he would have won a statewide recount, but that was never an option.

He should have taken the position that all votes be counted, and not conceded until that happened.


Do not forget the role of Republicans organizing a riot (The Brooks Brothers Riot) and then pointing at the riot as evidence for the need to quickly resolve the election to avoid further violence. It was a rather ridiculous Mel Brooks Blazing Saddles Moment.
posted by srboisvert at 3:52 PM on November 12 [23 favorites]


Putin Loses His Best Friend in Congress As California’s Rohrabacher Goes Down
Ed Kilgore | NY Mag
Over the weekend, there were probably a few long faces in the Kremlin when the Associated Press called the election for the 48th U.S. House District of California for Democrat Harley Rouda. This marked the end of the 30-year congressional career of Dana Rohrabacher, a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan who became known for his exceptional spirit of friendship toward the former Evil Empire’s latest management. Often called “Putin’s favorite congressman,” Rohrabacher was also a big supporter of Putin’s other friend in the White House. Neither affiliation wore well on voters in his Orange County district, particularly this year...

Rohrabacher has refused to concede until all the votes are counted, but since late ballots tend to trend Democratic in California (threatening to submerge two other Orange County Republican candidates, Mimi Walters and Young Kim, who are still ahead narrowly), Rouda’s four-point lead looks unassailable. Rohrabacher can now spend as much time as he wants in Russia — as a tourist.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 3:56 PM on November 12 [22 favorites]


Just a reminder, it is grifters all the way down. From STAT by Damien Garde: Did Rep. Chris Collins sell his biotech stock without telling Congress?

Rep. Chris Collins, the New York lawmaker facing insider trading charges, was once the No. 2 shareholder in an Australian firm called Innate Immunotherapeutics. According to the company’s most recent disclosure, he’s no longer even in the top 20 shareholders.

What’s unclear is what happened to his shares.

Under law, members of Congress are required to publicly disclose their stock trades within 30 days. Yet there is no record of Collins having sold the bulk of his shares.
posted by Bella Donna at 3:56 PM on November 12 [16 favorites]


But we are, by now, all the way in.

I certainly feel as if the way he experiences the world -- as an accumulated present in which past events and fictitious ones show up from time to time -- has bled over into media coverage and the way in which people are refresh-refresh-refreshing for something to happen. Because it might. Plenty of people have compared it to living with an abuser, and that's on the mark, but the broader psychological effect provides the kind of insight not normally covered by source-driven historians into what living under authoritarianism in an era of mass communication feels like.

(This is connected to the subject of Will Davies's new book Nervous States: "As we become more attuned to 'real time' media, we inevitably end up placing more trust in sensation and emotion than in evidence.")
posted by holgate at 3:58 PM on November 12 [10 favorites]


Another advisory board member who also did legal work for the company, New York-based attorney Eric Creizman, said he also received a subpoena from the FTC and turned over records regarding the company.

Creizman apparently used to represent George Papadopoulos. The George Papadopoulos who wants to retract his guilty plea.

posted by ryoshu at 3:28 PM on November 10 [4 favorites +] [!]


Goddammit, now I've got to go back and get a shitload more red string...
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:01 PM on November 12 [4 favorites]


Fox News hasn't tweeted in, so far as I can tell, 4 full days. I'm starting to think this is the start of the long-prophecied tossing overboard of Trump now that they can't get any more legislation through? They went after Whittaker and now this. I assume they're all-in on the voter fraud bullshit since they can continue that line of attack in a post-Trump GOP but... 4 days is a long time to go radio silent. Does anyone believe their Tucker Carlson excuse?
posted by Justinian at 4:03 PM on November 12 [3 favorites]


Joshua Matz, The Justice Department’s new tactic: Leapfrog judicial process and go straight to the Supreme Court
The Justice Department has implemented a new strategy for defending President Trump’s most controversial policies: Declare an urgent threat to the executive branch, bypass ordinary judicial procedure and rush straight to the Supreme Court. Over the past few weeks, it has made this move in cases involving climate change, immigration, the 2020 Census and Trump’s ban on military service by transgender people. The department’s aggressive tactics rest on a rather overt calculation that the court’s right-leaning majority will nearly always side with the administration — and that five justices will repeatedly bend the rules to kill cases against Trump.

It seems unlikely that a majority of the Supreme Court is enthusiastic about this development. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is deeply committed to preserving confidence in the court as a branch of government that speaks “for the Constitution,” not “one party.” That concern also appears in statements by many of his colleagues. As Justice Elena Kagan has observed, “It’s an incredibly important thing for the court to guard — this reputation of being fair, of being impartial, of being neutral, and of not being some extension of the terribly polarized political process and environment that we live in.”

By treating the Supreme Court as a willing ally rather than a neutral arbiter, Trump’s lawyers are encouraging a dangerously cynical view of an institution whose public legitimacy is its very lifeblood. Worse, by filing a slew of irregular petitions that require immediate action, the department is forcing the court to navigate a political minefield.
posted by zachlipton at 4:03 PM on November 12 [13 favorites]


(This is connected to the subject of Will Davies's new book Nervous States: "As we become more attuned to 'real time' media, we inevitably end up placing more trust in sensation and emotion than in evidence.")

i constantly catch myself assuming that 100% of the information required to form an outrage response is present in the surface-level details of a new story. the 24 hour news cycle doesn’t actually leave anyone better informed, it just puts us in the position of speculating on insufficient information for more and more of our waking hours.
posted by murphy slaw at 4:06 PM on November 12 [19 favorites]


I mean, it’s hardly the weirdest thing Trump has done, not even top ten, but I’m surprised by his staying away from the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One and also from Arlington Cemetary, and just staying in the White House. I wonder if it’s finally sinking in that he took a beating at the midterms.

And heck, if people’s wildest theories about his finances are true, maybe he’s genuinely scared about the upcoming subpoenas coming from the House of Representatives. Heck, maybe he’s rethinking this whole being-a-president lark and will resign (which thanks to his Vice President, is only a moderately cheery thought) in hopes of staving off investigation into his finances, if he really is as non-rich as some people think.

Canceling everything to stay at home watching TV isn’t something that fired up people do.
posted by Kattullus at 4:07 PM on November 12 [7 favorites]


Sky News reports from today's American Commemoration Ceremony: “"You look so comfortable up there under shelter as we're getting drenched, you're very smart people"

More from the same speech:
Through rain, hail, snow, mud, poisonous gas, bullets and mortar, they held the line, and pushed onward to victory — it was a great, great victory; costly victory but a great victory — never knowing if they would ever again see their families or ever again hold their loved ones.
But he couldn't go to Belleau Wood because of rain. And blew off visiting Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day because Fox and Friends was on.

Ceterum autem censeo Trumpem esse delendam
posted by kirkaracha at 4:07 PM on November 12 [5 favorites]


Does anyone believe their Tucker Carlson excuse?

No.

My first thought was that they fired the social media producer in charge of that feed, but they wouldn't let a hose of propaganda rest for no reason.

Combined with the other silences, a letter about preserving records (spoliation) would have been the flare that terrified people. They don't know what Twitter stores (probably everything) versus what they have control over. So they're deleting Sent Items in Outlook thinking that deletes them from the server where the data is held. They don't know what copies are where. They don't know how digital records work. So it reads, to me, like panic.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:12 PM on November 12 [3 favorites]


Putin Loses His Best Friend in Congress As California’s Rohrabacher Goes Down


It is still astounding to me just how much Putin has got for his investment in Trump.

For a few hundred million in laundered money/loans/contracts, and the side hustle of a social media propaganda campaign that probably cost chump change in comparison, he got the US to voluntarily undermine trade relationships, long-standing security relationships, treaties, and sanctions agreements to an astounding degree.

Our new trade war alone will cost the US hundreds of billions of dollars. And we’ve voluntarily stepped out of forward-looking treaties like the TPP that will leave us wrong-footed for a generation or more.

All it took Putin was helping some corrupt, easily-manipulated, puffed-up, Reality Show idiot get elected US President, backed up by a handful of complicit, self-dealing jackanapes in Congress, and watch in probably amazed glee at his success, as in two years they set to destroying the country.
posted by darkstar at 4:12 PM on November 12 [44 favorites]


By treating the Supreme Court as a willing ally rather than a neutral arbiter, Trump’s lawyers are encouraging a dangerously cynical view of an institution whose public legitimacy is its very lifeblood.

Which is why Ds should be calling the court illegitimate/tainted/partisan and a Trump rubber stamp at every possible opportunity. Make Roberts tack a bit to the center if he wants to maintain any credibility for the institution where he'll spend the rest of his life, long after Trump is gone.

The attack also has the benefit of being true.
posted by chris24 at 4:19 PM on November 12 [33 favorites]


Combined with the other silences, a letter about preserving records (spoliation) would have been the flare that terrified people.

Is there any reason to believe Fox has received such a letter apart from the fact that it would explain the silence? I grant that there is no evidence for any explanation at this point, just wondering if I missed something.
posted by Justinian at 4:22 PM on November 12


CNN: Trump Properties Received $3.2 Million During Midterms, FEC Records Show
Campaigns and PACs spent at least $3.2 million at Trump-owned and branded properties throughout the two-year midterm election cycle, a CNN analysis of Federal Election Commission filings shows. And the total could rise after post-election financial reports are published by the commission.

No single group spent more than the Republican National Committee, which spent at least $1.2 million at the properties since the start of 2017.

About half of the RNC spending came in two installments -- $367,000 for travel expenses at Trump National Doral Miami in mid-June, after the group's spring meetings at the Florida club, and $222,000 for "venue rental and catering" at Mar-A-Lago in March connected to fundraising events at the resort.
Trump's own presidential reelection campaign was also among the groups spending the most at Trump properties throughout 2017 and 2018, despite not being on the ballot. The campaign has spent more than $950,000 at Trump properties since the start of 2017.

And America First Action -- a pro-Trump super PAC founded early in 2017 and funded primarily by GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson -- was another top patron of Trump properties, dropping at least $360,000 throughout the cycle.
#NeverStopGrifting
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:25 PM on November 12 [8 favorites]


I assume they're all-in on the voter fraud bullshit since they can continue that line of attack in a post-Trump GOP but... 4 days is a long time to go radio silent. Does anyone believe their Tucker Carlson excuse?

I don’t believe it for a minute. There’s no official statement; the only reason anyone thinks it’s to do with Carlson is some guy said so on Twitter — not an official spokesman, but a Fox employee. But I can’t find the initial Tweet where he says it now, and Variety, The Hill et al are citing it as “other outlets are reporting.”

If Fox were going to take a moral stand — and a boycott is a moral stand! — I don’t believe for a second they’d miss a chance to trumpet themselves as martyrs and heroes. And it’s telling the the main Fox News account and Fox Politics are down, but the show sub-Twitters are all active, from Fox Sports to Fox & Friends and on. I don’t know what it smells like, but a principled boycott over Twitter’s lousy harassment policy ain’t it.
posted by Andrhia at 4:26 PM on November 12 [5 favorites]


I don't know much about Sherrod Brown in the Old White Guy sweepstakes, but I do know that years back, a co-worker who was from Ohio and was (to me) an insufferable "country club" Republican, described Brown as a "a goon." That's enough to make me curious!
posted by TwoStride at 4:26 PM on November 12 [4 favorites]


also, it’s not like Fox has stopped broadcasting in any other media. i’m unaware of any legal jeopardy that tweeting could expose them to that isn’t the same as any given broadcast day of Fox News?

shit’s weird, man.
posted by murphy slaw at 4:27 PM on November 12


Man, that picture of Putin approaching Macron, Merkel, Trump, and Melania Trump.

As I looked at the picture and thought about how Trump expresses disdain and contempt to most other people, but to people like Putin, Duterte, Kim JU, etc., he is almost like a puppy dog, I got a sudden, awful thought. Trump likes people known for killing their enemies. He'd like to do it himself, but lacks an organization with either the competence or the loyalty to do so. My revulsion at seeing his face as this notion arose caused me to spit up in my mouth a little.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:27 PM on November 12 [28 favorites]


Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is deeply committed to preserving confidence in the court as a branch of government that speaks “for the Constitution,” not “one party.”

This is wishful thinking, not something for which there is any evidence beyond one single data point in the Obamacare case. One time is not "committed".
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:31 PM on November 12 [6 favorites]



Is there any reason to believe Fox has received such a letter apart from the fact that it would explain the silence? I grant that there is no evidence for any explanation at this point, just wondering if I missed something.


No, I do know 1) what freaks corporate people out and 2) what they don't know-e.g. is my email stored locally or in the cloud? What about those times I used my Gmail account? How does this relate to my phone? My iCloud account? My wifi at home versus at work? Who can record what? Where?

And to me, this looks like paralysis and panic at being unable to answer those questions.

And I know that spoliation of evidence is something courts take really seriously--like for the love of God, don't start digitally shredding. So paralysis seems a reasonable second choice.

Maybe I'm wrong!
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:33 PM on November 12


OK, not Twitter, but this appears to be the ambiguously sourced oldest article about the “Fox is off Twitter because Tucker Carlson” story.
posted by Andrhia at 4:38 PM on November 12


He'd like to do it himself, but lacks an organization with either the competence or the loyalty to do so.

It's true. I semi-jokingly floated the idea of Trump trying a Russian Apartment Bombing strategy for his re-election, and a friend snorted, and asked who he'd task with pulling it off, Eric?
posted by chaz at 4:41 PM on November 12


So Fox is punishing us by not tweeting? "PLEASE, Fox, please don't keep hitting us with the silent treatment. It's making liberals cry!"
posted by msalt at 4:42 PM on November 12 [10 favorites]


Not to cross threads, but AP has called AZ Sen for Sinema [D].
posted by Chrysostom at 4:46 PM on November 12 [42 favorites]


Meanwhile, let's check in on what's happening in Florida, not inside the elections offices, but outside. NBC, Step right up: The recount circus has come back to Florida
The mood was alternatively festive and angry. One minute, members of Bikers for Trump were dancing to songs like Can's "I Want More," re-recorded with pro-Trump lyrics, and the next minute, a woman with long blonde hair who said her name was MJ was yelling at the top of her lungs about “the f------ Jews.”

An ersatz news conference broke out around the woman, who told the assembling crowd that she herself was Jewish, but frustrated that the large Jewish population in South Florida reliably votes Democratic.

A large tattooed man with a shaved head who gave his name only as Taco stepped up beside her. He was wearing a cut-off black shirt that featured a drawing of Trump riding a Harley Davidson Motorcycle and holding a sawed off shotgun that said "Drain the Swamp." "They control the media, they control the entertainment business and that's what they do," he said. "Donald Trump has done more for the Jews and Israel than anybody before. And it doesn’t matter."
@AmyEGardner: Overheard security officers at the Broward County elections HQ tonight about a woman providing security for two recount observers who came through with a gun on her hip. She was stopped by the mag [magnetometer—metal detector]. The mag worked. She left without protest.

@jonward11: Was at Broward elections office today and talked to one Republican protester outside who got into a back and forth with another group and then was talking about going to his car to get his gun. Leaders need to tamp this down.
posted by zachlipton at 4:55 PM on November 12 [13 favorites]


I think McSally's gracious and upbeat concession statement is worth a look, too, if only because it stands in such sharp contrast to the crazy shit coming out of Florida's GOP establishment and the White House.

There's so much to be thankful for out of the mid-term results. I didn't think "Arizona Republicans count up all the votes and act like normal people" would be one of the top-tier things to be thankful for, but here we are.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:57 PM on November 12 [48 favorites]


By the way, Sinema won't back Schumer as minority leader.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:57 PM on November 12 [30 favorites]


NYT, Senators Reach Bipartisan Deal to Ease Sentencing Laws
A bipartisan group of senators has reached a deal to rewrite the nation’s sentencing and prison laws for the first time in a generation, giving judges more latitude to sidestep mandatory minimum sentences and easing drug sentences that have incarcerated African-Americans at much higher rates than white offenders.

The lawmakers believe they can get the measure to President Trump during the final weeks of the year if the president embraces it.

The compromise would eliminate the so-called stacking regulation that makes it a federal crime to possess a firearm while committing another crime, like a drug offense; expand the “drug safety valve” allowing judges to sidestep mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenders; and shorten mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, according to draft text of the bill obtained by The New York Times.

It would also retroactively extend a reduction in the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine signed into law in 2010, potentially affecting thousands of drug offenders serving lengthy sentences.
...
The senators believe they can win over most Democrats and, with cover from Mr. Trump, a large block of Republicans. But they fear outspoken conservative opponents to liberalizing sentencing laws, especially Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, could pull Mr. Trump out of their camp.
@DLind: This is theeeeee test for any theory of Trump-as-dealmaker. Sessions is out, and the bill has been precompromised to the point that not only Chuck Grassley but the FOP is on board. If he rejects, there won’t be much reason beyond a commitment to “toughness” etc.
posted by zachlipton at 4:57 PM on November 12 [26 favorites]


Isn't it more or less a pretty sure thing that she'll be appointed when Kyl retires? So a friendly concession seems pretty easy when you're just going to get the other seat sometime in the next year.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:02 PM on November 12 [4 favorites]


McSally has to play it cool now. She knows she lost. Unlike most Republican election losers, though, she has a vested interest in maintaining a veneer of respectability. She’s still angling for McCain’s seat when Kyl relinquishes it. (Either by appointment next year or by election in 2020.) If she goes off like a loudmouth conspiracy nut right now, she could jeopardize Independent support when she runs for office again.

But realistically, I think we are soon to be looking at a McSally [R] & Sinema [D] senatorial duo for the next thirty years or so. Which parity, for Arizona, is still a step forward from the double [R] teams of Kyl & McCain, or McCain & Flake that we’ve had for thirty years. The last Democratic senator AZ had was when DeConcini [D] — one of the “exonerated” members of the Keating Five — retired in ‘88.

Edit: Not to mention that having two women in these positions of power is a major improvement, too.
posted by darkstar at 5:12 PM on November 12 [18 favorites]


The Washington Post and NBC have posted summary articles of Corsi's wild live stream.

What they both have in common is a statement from Roger Stone, who's piggy-backing on this story: "My attorneys have fully reviewed all my written communications with Dr. Corsi. When those aren't viewed out of context they prove everything I have said under oath regarding my interaction with Dr. Corsi is true. It is possible to take individual communications out of context to create a false impression to a grand jury. Such a case would be weak and would fail." All in all, it sounds like the mendacious Stone's attempt to use Corsi as an alibi has blown up in his face. How could someone who pushed the Swiftboat, Birther, and QAnon conspiracies have turned out to be so untrustworthy?

By the way, Corsi's attorney refused to comment to the Post about his client's on-air allegations.

Fox News hasn't tweeted in, so far as I can tell, 4 full days.

Ditto WikiLeaks, coincidentally.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:17 PM on November 12 [12 favorites]


An ersatz news conference broke out around the woman, who told the assembling crowd that she herself was Jewish, but frustrated that the large Jewish population in South Florida reliably votes Democratic.

Yeah, well, Jews like us are frustrated that Jews like you keep on supporting fascists and anti-Semites (and more and more often, actual fucking Nazis), lady.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:30 PM on November 12 [23 favorites]


Maybe Fox has moved over to Gab, following their demographic...
This photo is amazing, from Chip Somodevilla. It is both disturbing and Very Fucking disturbing. Truly worth a thousand words.
posted by Clathrate Bomber at 6:32 PM on November 12 [57 favorites]


President Trump is going to be so disappointed in him.

@PaulaReidCBS JUST IN: DOJ says Acting Attorney General Whitaker will consult with senior ethics officials at DOJ about possible recusal in Special Counsel investigation. DOJ Spox Kerri Kupec says,
"Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker is fully committed to following all appropriate processes and procedures at the Department of Justice, including consulting with senior ethics officials on his oversight responsibilities and matters that may warrant recusal."
posted by scalefree at 6:35 PM on November 12 [32 favorites]


I find it interesting to watch phrases enter the media mainstream. In my Google News feed at the moment, two stories from different sources:Is "makes a baseless claim" the latest step in inching towards being able to call the president a liar in the headline?
posted by Nerd of the North at 6:40 PM on November 12 [33 favorites]




Is "makes a baseless claim" the latest step in inching towards being able to call the president a liar in the headline?


Maybe? nice observation. at least a lot of news outlets have stopped leading with a headline of just repeating the stupid tweets. this is the sad state of progress in the media.
posted by bluesky43 at 6:47 PM on November 12 [2 favorites]


From that David Roth article posted above:

In the most basic sense, just in terms of getting off his ass to do the basic boring things presidents do, Trump can’t do the job. He can’t care and he won’t work and he never tells the truth both because he doesn’t know it and is afraid to know it.

There is no reason to ask him or anyone who works for him questions—a half-truth isn’t true enough and even a half-lie is still a lie, and they will never do better than either. The work that needs doing, which Trump and his people cannot do or even see, is plain and urgent. It’s all much bigger than him.


(Emphasis mine.) For all the good the Jim Acostas and April Ryans of DC do, it's ultimately always been a fool's errand. Spend those once-a-month press conferences slamming them with facts. No Questions Asked. That's the press' only real job now.
posted by petebest at 6:49 PM on November 12 [24 favorites]


But realistically, I think we are soon to be looking at a McSally [R] & Sinema [D] senatorial duo for the next thirty years or so.

Assuming that McSally is appointed to the McCain seat - which sounds likely, if not 100% - she's up again in 2020. She didn't win this time, I wouldn't bet the house on her winning again, if the Dems come up with a good candidate.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:50 PM on November 12 [11 favorites]


So maybe the news isn't that good.

Justice Department Poised to Issue Legal Opinion Supporting Whitaker Appointment
Agency lawyers to cite 2003 guidance for President George W. Bush
WASHINGTON—The Justice Department is expected to publish a legal opinion in support of Matthew Whitaker’s installation as acting attorney general as early as Tuesday, a person familiar with the matter said, following questions about whether he can legally serve in the role.

The department’s Office of Legal Counsel is expected to say that President Trump had the ability to appoint Mr. Whitaker, the person said. Mr. Whitaker took over last week as an interim successor to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions when Mr. Sessions was ousted by Mr. Trump.

The opinion is expected to support the Trump administration’s position that the president’s authority to tap Mr. Whitaker is affirmed by guidance the office issued in 2003. At that time, the office concluded that President George W. Bush could name a non-confirmed employee of the Office of Management and Budget as the agency’s acting director.

The OMB director, like the attorney general, is a principal officer of the federal government. The 2003 opinion avoided that problem by defining an acting director as an “inferior officer,” who under Supreme Court precedent doesn’t require Senate approval to be appointed.

Critics from across the ideological spectrum have said Mr. Whitaker’s appointment is a potentially invalid end-run around the Senate’s power to provide “advice and consent” on senior executive-branch nominations. Others have said Mr. Whitaker’s appointment was lawful under a statute called the Vacancies Reform Act.

In addition, others say Mr. Whitaker’s ties to a witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 elections and his history of critical comments about that inquiry raise questions about his impartiality and his ability to supervise it. The special counsel is designed to be insulated from political considerations.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said Mr. Whitaker would follow “all appropriate processes and procedures,” including consulting with senior ethics officials on “his oversight responsibilities and matters that may warrant recusal.”
posted by scalefree at 7:03 PM on November 12 [9 favorites]


So I guess he is above the law.
posted by xammerboy at 7:10 PM on November 12 [2 favorites]


This is the same OLC that under W said torture was a-ok, remember.

Until a judge weighs in this means little. You can always find a lackey to write some bullshit justifying what you want to do.
posted by Justinian at 7:15 PM on November 12 [14 favorites]


No, it's about being more vicious about righting wrongs rather than making rhetorical points.

I'm not sure what's the bigger waste of time. Try to hash out an intelligent, say, infrastructure bill with Trump that is not another giveaway to the rich, or put forward good popular bill proposals destined to fail. I'm pretty sure trying to work with Republicans will go nowhere fast, even when trying for half or a quarter of a loaf, but I see no reason not to try both strategies.
posted by xammerboy at 7:15 PM on November 12


The OMB director, like the attorney general, is a principal officer of the federal government. The 2003 opinion avoided that problem by defining an acting director as an “inferior officer,” who under Supreme Court precedent doesn’t require Senate approval to be appointed.

I saw something about this, and it was saying that that keeps Mueller safe, because inferior officers (Mueller) have to be supervised by the category of superior officers, who have been Senate confirmed. This would be Rosenstein. Whitaker still might have access to all of the Mueller case files by dint of being Acting AG, but he can't fire Mueller or anything like that.
posted by rhizome at 7:21 PM on November 12 [3 favorites]


Not to go all conspiracy theory, but....here's a conspiracy theory (FB link):
Something is up, something is up, something is up. EIGHT of Mueller’s prosecutors are working today, a federal holiday. Michael Cohen traveled from NY down to DC this morning to go to Mueller’s office. Trump AND Pence skip Arlington on Veteran’s Day, on top of Trump’s skipping the fallen soldiers memorial in Paris on Saturday after flying to Europe for it. Rupert Murdoch visits Mitch McConnell at the Capitol last Thursday morning, and Fox’s last tweet is a few hours later (FOUR DAYS AGO). Wikileaks (“arm of the GRU” per Pompeo) Twitter account went silent AT THE SAME TIME. Matt Drudge just deleted his Twitter account. Roger Stone/Infowars stooge Jerome Corsi says he’s been told he’s about to be indicted. Roger Stone said a few weeks back he was expecting to be indicted imminently. Something is up, something is up, something is DEFINITELY up. 🌪 🌋 🔥
posted by triggerfinger at 7:27 PM on November 12 [49 favorites]


“We’ll see.”

—Donald Trump


“See you in court!”

— also Donald Trump
posted by darkstar at 7:30 PM on November 12 [3 favorites]


So, Sinema has pulled this off. And this feels good. But it also feels weird. I've never really seen anything like this before. I voted for the first time in the 1992 election. Since then, the biggest wins we've had here is Napolitano winning the governorship twice, and while that was nice, she still always had a GOP legislature so nothing really got done. I'm not used to winning anything bigger than a ballot proposition here. I'm a lifelong Dem, and we just don't win here. Every time around there's this spark of hope that maybe this is the year where we have a breakthrough, and then come that Tuesday in November, it's yet another rout.

And not this time. We actually won. It actually happened.

But there's still even more hope. We have a fighting shot at taking the Secretary of State office. This would be massive. Voter suppression would be nipped in the bud to as large a degree as possible under the law. And the legislature is just short of even, meaning the GOP likely doesn't have the votes to pass anything nasty. We have a Dem superintendent of education. We have an educator who will be leading education and not trying to privatize our school system. And it looks like we will have a Dem on the Arizona Corporation Commission, setting things up for 2020 when 3 of the 5 seats are up. Sinema, Hobbs, Hoffman, Kennedy, and also McSally's replacement in CD2, Kirkpatrick, all Dem women. This is seismic.

This feeling will take a while to get used to. I hope we have even more of this in 2020.
posted by azpenguin at 7:35 PM on November 12 [83 favorites]


Oooh, add the National Enquirer to the list of publications (Fox, Wikileaks) that hasn't tweeted since Friday. Pretty sure David Pecker has been part of the Mueller investigation.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:37 PM on November 12 [17 favorites]


Three major institutions ceasing their Twitter activity for a weekend does begin to look like a trend, doesn’t it? Maybe everyone’s on vacation?

I can’t applaud your comment loudly enough, azpenguin. This November could have been better for us, but it could have been much, much worse. A Huppenthal as our Superintendent of Public Instruction while working to destroy it. A Flake mewling his concerns while voting for every one of the worst laws and justices set before him. A J.D. Hayworth bombastically parroting whatever Cato Institute drivel he just skimmed through.

We’ve had some decent (if moderate) Dems in office in the past. I fought for Harry Mitchell [D] and got to visit him in Hayworth’s nice, former office in D.C. which he got to take over because the delayed vote tally meant that offices had already been assigned for the new Congress before the transition was made. I was thrilled when he voted for Obamacare, and was devastated when he was defeated two terms later by Schweikert [R].

But what happened this November has been a very encouraging thing to behold, and a much needed release from the pressure cooker we’ve been in for these past two years, especially. Is that a green shoot I detect, peeking from beneath the snow?
posted by darkstar at 7:55 PM on November 12 [6 favorites]


> Kyrsten Sinema is the first Democrat to win an Arizona Senate seat in 30 years (Li Zhou | Vox)

She's also the first female senator from Arizona and the first openly bisexual senator ever.
posted by homunculus at 8:16 PM on November 12 [32 favorites]


WaPo, Trump is preparing to remove Kirstjen Nielsen as Homeland Security secretary, aides say
President Trump has decided to remove Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and her departure from the administration is likely to occur in the coming weeks, if not sooner, according to five current and former White House officials. 
Trump canceled a planned trip with Nielsen this week to visit U.S. troops at the border in South Texas and told aides over the weekend he wants her out as soon as possible, these officials said. The president has grumbled for months about what he views as Nielsen’s lackluster performance on immigration enforcement and is believed to be looking for a replacement who will implement his policy ideas with more alacrity. 
The announcement could come as soon as this week, three of these officials said. 
posted by zachlipton at 8:32 PM on November 12 [9 favorites]


Why the 2018 Midterms May Have Been Bluer Than You Think - Andrew Gelman, Slate
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:33 PM on November 12 [6 favorites]


There is no Senate confirmed deputy at DHS, so God only knows who will get the “acting” Secretary role (Kobach? Miller?).

Jeebus. I would guess the leak is from Trump himself as he tries to redirect the media narrative from the Trump disaster it’s been since last Tuesday to a different kind of Trump disaster (Who’s in the Cabinet, Anyway?) for a change of pace.
posted by notyou at 8:49 PM on November 12 [2 favorites]


Trump is preparing to remove Kirstjen Nielsen as Homeland Security secretary, aides say

Apparently someone willing to put children in wire cages isn't sufficient to satisfy Trump. He wants someone willing to do even more heinous activities.
posted by JackFlash at 8:50 PM on November 12 [37 favorites]


Although maybe Bolton as the leaker/voice in Trump’s ear is the better guess.
posted by notyou at 9:06 PM on November 12


Municipal elections in Utah next year can use ranked choice voting.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:04 PM on November 12 [7 favorites]


To harass, one must have power. When leading the world's largest military in history, one has all the power, and one de facto cannot be harassed, but rather only subject others to harassment. Presidential harassment is an oxymoron spoken of by a maximoron.
posted by riverlife at 10:09 PM on November 12 [11 favorites]




God only knows who will get the “acting” Secretary role (Kobach? Miller?)

I don't think an "acting" designation can come from outside the agency, they snuck Whitaker in by first making him Sessions' Chief of Staff. The Anti-Vacancy Reform Act allows for Senate confirmed nominees to slide to another role, that's how Mulvaney keeps accumulating job titles, but Trump can't just pick Kobach off the street and say "oh you're the Secretary of Homeland Security now" without Kobach being confirmed by the Senate. He could slide over say, Rick Perry, but not just anyone. If he shitcans Nielsen, it'll probably be a career person in a caretaker role until he can actually get some heinous fuckwad confirmed. Maybe Lou Dobbs. Or Steve King. Which he will be able to do because there's only two conceivable Republican defectors anymore, and Collins and Murkowski both don't give a fuck about immigration issues.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:31 PM on November 12


This is just a note to recall that Kirstjen Nielsen was appointed to the post on December 5, 2017.

In January, she testified to the Senate that she didn’t recall hearing Trump mention “shithole” countries in the meeting which others reported he did say.

In March, she expressed her support for Trump’s ban on Transdender people in the military.

In May, she testified to Congress that she was unaware that the FBI, CIA, and NSA had all jointly concluded that Russia had colluded to interfere in the 2016 US elections to favor Trump (a conclusion echoed by the Senate Intelligence Committee’s own report). Later, she backtracked and said she accepted their findings. In an interview in July, she backtracked again and said she’d seen no ovidence the Russians tried to favor Trump.

In the same July interview, when asked about the violence perpetrated by White Supremacists in Charlottesville, she evaded denouncing White Nationalism, said both sides were at fault, and neither side was right or wrong.

In June, she lied by stating that the DHS did not have a zero-tolerance policy of separating migrant families, when they had already stripped over 2000 children from their parents in the previous six weeks. The DHS’s own website said such a policy was in place. Later that month, she defended the practice as necessary to prevent families for using it as a loophole to avoid detention.

Near the end of the month, she argued that the Administration was not using family separation as a deterrent, while concurrent reports from other Admin officials stated explicitly that deterrence was a key element of the policy. (Government data on border arrests shows it had no effect on deterrence.)

After arguing explicitly that it was impossible for the President to sign an Exective Order ending the zero-tolerance policy unilaterally without Congress’ intervention, then when the issue became too hot politically, she was present at Trump’s signing the E.O. doing just that.

Incarceration of asylum seekers continues, however, with new detention camps being built for thousands of migrants from funds taken from FEMA and shifted to ICE, both agencies in DHS.

This is Kirstjen Nielsen, the person that Trump wants to fire because he feels she is not acting aggressively enough to secure the borders.
posted by darkstar at 11:49 PM on November 12 [107 favorites]


Regarding the U.S.A.-flagged Trumpy Bear (above), do the sellers and buyers know about the Russian Bear? If so, this item may signal a stronger relationship than we thought. Has Putin given one to The Donald? Is there a recording chip inside?
posted by cenoxo at 12:02 AM on November 13 [1 favorite]


In North Korea, Missile Bases Suggest a Great Deception

Ankit Panda, What to make of a new report on N. Korea’s undeclared missile operating bases
The New York Times‘s framing of the story left many North Korea-watchers—including this author—perplexed. There is no “great deception” by North Korea with regard to its missile operating bases because there is no deal with North Korea concerning its ballistic missile programs.

The Singapore declaration and the inter-Korean summit declarations of April 27 and September 19 this year do not commit Pyongyang to either disclose the sites identified by Bermudez et al., and they certainly contain no unilateral commitment by North Korea to disable or dismantle these facilities. On the contrary, the existence of these bases and, most importantly, their ongoing activity and expansion in 2018 demonstrate that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s Day guidance for the country’s missile engineers and nuclear scientists to mass produce warheads and missiles is going ahead.
...
The framing of the discovery of these bases as a “deception,” by contrast, increases the dangers that President Donald J. Trump in the United States might come to realize that his own impression of this year’s process with North Korea has been false all along, raising the possibility of the United States lashing out again Kim by resorting to military force.

The day after he returned from the June 12 summit with Kim in Singapore, Trump famously tweeted that there is “no longer a threat” from North Korea. The CSIS team’s work is the latest bit of evidence, following multiple reports this summer based on leaked U.S. intelligence estimates, that North Korea’s nuclear forces remain very real.
posted by zachlipton at 12:16 AM on November 13 [8 favorites]


>>PSA: Americans do not get to make fun of the French Army ever again.

Considering the much greater price the French paid in major wars, we shouldn't disrespect their military at all:
WWI French deaths ... 1,697,000 to 1,737,800 Total ... 4.29% to 4.39% of Population
WWI U.S. deaths ... 117,466 Total ... 0.13% of population

WWII French deaths ... 600,000 Total ... 1.44% of population
WWII U.S. deaths ... 419,400 Total ... 0.32% of population
French casualties in Indochina were about 45,000-50,000 and U.S. casualties in Vietnam over 58,000. The U.S. population was about four times larger than France, thus the relative percentage of U.S. population was about 1/4th as much.

Too high of a price by any standard.
posted by cenoxo at 1:19 AM on November 13 [26 favorites]


Three major institutions ceasing their Twitter activity for a weekend does begin to look like a trend, doesn’t it? Maybe everyone’s on vacation?

Apparently, it's a boycott because of the Tucker Carlson thing, although the conspiracy is a lot more fun.
posted by parm at 2:07 AM on November 13 [1 favorite]


The framing of the discovery of these bases as a “deception,” by contrast, increases the dangers that President Donald J. Trump in the United States might come to realize that his own impression of this year’s process with North Korea has been false all along, raising the possibility of the United States lashing out again Kim by resorting to military force.

just another normal day in 2018, where experts in North Korean policy worry that the choice of framing of an article in the Times may provoke the president of the united states into starting a nuclear war
posted by murphy slaw at 2:35 AM on November 13 [17 favorites]


A boycott is the simplest explanation for Fox's Twitter silence... except that it would be sort of pointless to protest without telling anyone, no? That Variety article merely cites "multiple outlets" but unless Fox is a moody teenager they can give their own reasons for their silence.

Of course, perhaps it's a matter of having it both ways -- they don't want to rock the boat by announcing the boycott and they don't want to alienate conservatives who believe one should happen. But Trump himself continues to use Twitter as usual, so just what sort of conservative is going to expect anyone else not to?

When I consider all the other conservative outlets gone silent likewise without having said anywhere "This is about the Tucker thing", I have to wonder.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 3:21 AM on November 13 [10 favorites]


...And Twitter boycott doesn’t explain why the National Enquirer and Fox News Politics FACEBOOK pages have been dark since Friday.
posted by Andrhia at 4:16 AM on November 13 [10 favorites]


Drudge deletes his tweets after a couple of days. Combine that with a few days no posting protest and it looks like he's deleted his account.
posted by chris24 at 4:20 AM on November 13 [2 favorites]


Has anyone watched Fox News? (I'm not volunteering) If they were boycotting Twitter (a) wouldn't they announce it every 30 minutes on TV, and (b) wouldn't Trump have threatened to boycott Twitter too?

I sure wish he'd boycott Twitter
posted by mmoncur at 4:28 AM on November 13 [8 favorites]


Maryland is taking Trump to court over Whitaker. NYT:
Now, Mr. Whitaker’s appointment is facing a court challenge. The State of Maryland is expected to ask a federal judge on Tuesday for an injunction declaring that Mr. Whitaker is not the legitimate acting attorney general as a matter of law, and that the position — and all its powers — instead rightfully belongs to the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein.

Mr. Trump may not “bypass the constitutional and statutory requirements for appointing someone to that office,” the plaintiffs said in a draft filing obtained by The New York Times.

The legal action escalates the uproar surrounding Mr. Trump’s installation of Mr. Whitaker as the nation’s top law-enforcement officer, from criticism of his basic credentials and his views on the Russia investigation to challenges to the legality of his appointment. Last week, Chuck Schumer of New York, the Senate’s top Democrat, sent a letter demanding to know why Mr. Trump chose an “unconfirmed political appointee” as acting attorney general, rather than follow the Justice Department’s statutory line of succession.

Maryland is asking a judge — Ellen L. Hollander of the Federal District Court for the District of Maryland, a 2010 Obama appointee — to rule on who is the real acting attorney general as part of a lawsuit in which it sued Mr. Sessions in his official capacity. Because Mr. Sessions is no longer the attorney general, the judge must substitute his successor as a defendant in the litigation, so she has to decide who that successor legally is.
posted by chris24 at 4:28 AM on November 13 [45 favorites]


Norah O’Donnell from CBS this morning says
@PaulaReidCBS reports: “I’ve spoken with many sources with knowledge of the Special Counsel investigation, and we do expect new indictments to be coming as soon as today.”
So maybe there is something going on and we should buckle up.
posted by Brainy at 4:53 AM on November 13 [41 favorites]


Fucker fucks things up:
@RealDonaldTrump:
Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two - How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!
Get fucked, you fucking fucker. FUUUUUUCK you.
Edit: not gonna change a thing. I hate this fucking asshole like I have not hated any human being on this planet.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 5:01 AM on November 13 [87 favorites]


So maybe there is something going on and we should buckle up.

And maybe that's why he's suddenly starting shit with France.
posted by rhizome at 5:10 AM on November 13 [7 favorites]


Beyond the idiocy and ignorance of what NATO is and how it operates, this proves how much he was bothered by all the pix of Macron and Merkel being thick as thieves and excluding him. He's jealous and trying to gin up conflict between them because he hates being the third wheel. And is clueless and awful enough to risk restarting French-German tensions, which has killed tens of millions through history, to do it.
posted by chris24 at 5:12 AM on November 13 [16 favorites]


@RealDonaldTrump:
Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two - How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!


HAHAHAHA!
I thought someone had explained to him what Macron said and how NATO works while he was in Paris?

Anyway, I guess the rest of NATO are already working around him and generally waiting for him to disappear. One detail I gave a moment of thought during the Paris thing was that the press wrote "they" moved him away from Putin for the dinner. Who are "they"? The French hosts, his handlers, Merkel and Macron together? It seems he had originally been sat next to Putin and then someone changed their mind. Not really important and I try to keep away from the speculation stuff, but this detail struck me as an indication that someone has decided to be the adult(s) in the room.

Now it would be very nice if everyone in favor of democracy would grow up and begin treating that unfit president like the drooling oversize toddler he is.
posted by mumimor at 5:14 AM on November 13 [6 favorites]


He's jealous and trying to gin up conflict...

That's ridicu... no, that makes sense. Especially with the un-love coming from the Mueller situation, yeah, that makes perfect sense.

Anyway, I guess the rest of NATO are already working around him...
The headline in 'Der Spiegel' (German magazine) was simply, "World leaders commemorate end of WWI, Trump stays in his room." Which, in German, was particularly dismissive.

Also from Der Spiegel was this quote from Putin:
"Europa ist eine starke wirtschaftliche Union und es ist ziemlich normal, dass Europa in Fragen der Verteidigung und Sicherheit unabhängig, eigenständig und souverän sein möchte" "Europe is a strong economic union and it is perfectly normal for Europe to want to be free, independent and sovereign in questions of defense and security" Maybe it was this tweaking of Trump's nose that put him in such a snit...
posted by From Bklyn at 5:27 AM on November 13 [12 favorites]


While Trump not only knows very little about 20th-c. history and its intricacies, but also seems to believe that history is an obnoxious non-real thing-of-the-past that disturbs what he is trying to do Right Now, I feel that the "it was Germany" tweet is based on yet simpler grounds. It's a game of "who's wearing the black hat," perfectly in line with the regressive sandbox battles mindset he is cultivating in all other interactions. It's good that I learned English reading the "Peanuts" because there's really not more to see here. The "Mad Punter" has struck again. Hee Hee.


Somehow sideways, the bon mot "you can't learn from history because history was written in German"* flutters past my mind here, no idea why. The joke is about old-fashioned historians, the language itself, and the fact that old German books are often set in difficult-to-decipher Fraktur (it is not about what Germans did in history, because that wouldn't be funny, would it now). But it's not that Trump would learn anything from history in any language, really.
posted by Namlit at 5:52 AM on November 13 [8 favorites]


Maybe? nice observation. at least a lot of news outlets have stopped leading with a headline of just repeating the stupid tweets. this is the sad state of progress in the media.

Yeah, all of a sudden in the past week the Boston Globe is leading its headlines with “Without evidence, Trump says ...” Some light bulb must have gone off at a meeting. They should read Metafilter more.
posted by Melismata at 6:01 AM on November 13 [12 favorites]




So when is the last time a U.S. president did not visit Arlington or another military memorial on Veterans Day? This is a real question, not snark.
posted by sacre_bleu at 6:05 AM on November 13 [3 favorites]


So when is the last time a U.S. president did not visit Arlington or another military memorial on Veterans Day?

CNN: Obama Not the 1st President to Miss Memorial Day at Arlington (2010)

But that's not the real answer to the question.

The fact is that Trump, an utterly malignant narcissist, cares less than nothing for American dead. They can't provide the slavish adoration he depesperately desires, so they're worthless to him.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:17 AM on November 13 [8 favorites]


CNN and Acosta have filed a lawsuit against Trump, John Kelly, Sarah Sanders, Bill Shine, and two members of the Secret Service, alleging violations of First and Fifth Amendment rights.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:31 AM on November 13 [78 favorites]


Rep. [Jason] Lewis draws flak for blaming GOP election losses on John McCain - Brian Bakst, MN Public Radio

In an article he wrote for the WSJ:
"McCain's last-minute decision prompted a 'green wave' of liberal special-interest money, which was used to propagate false claims that the House plan 'gutted coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.' That line was the Democrats' most potent attack in the midterms," Lewis wrote in a commentary piece under the headline "Who Lost the House? John McCain."
Of course, Lewis lost his bid for reelection for MN 2nd Congressional District to Angie Craig.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:32 AM on November 13 [6 favorites]


Regarding this claim from Lewis: Nobody's crystal ball works properly anymore these days... but mine tells me that if the ACA repeal had passed, the "green wave" would have been twice as high and the Republicans would have been in vastly more trouble because every ad saying "Representative X wants to take your healthcare" would have used the punchier "took away".

And kudos to CNN. It seems clear they ought to win on the merits because the rationale for barring Acosta was a blatant lie, and the White House might be on firmer ground if they'd just said "We don't like CNN as a matter of principle".
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:42 AM on November 13 [15 favorites]


So when is the last time a U.S. president did not visit Arlington or another military memorial on Veterans Day?

To answer the question formally, Obama was in Beijing for a summit in 2014 on Veteran's Day, but Biden took his place at Arlington. Obama still caught flack for it from certain corners.

This past Sunday, Pence visited troops at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson AK during a refueling stop at the beginning of his week-long Asia trip (his absence is going to make things that much more interesting at the Trump White House if shit hits the fan).
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:46 AM on November 13 [1 favorite]


... on the Wednesday morning after the elections, it was work as usual when the nurse interrupted my stream of everyday afflictions to let me know that my next patient had answered “yes” to a screening question about suicidal thoughts. This jumps a patient to the top of the priority list, and we quickly ushered him in. I hadn’t seen Mr. A (a pseudonym) in more than a year, but physically, that was fine: His hypertension was well controlled with just one medication, and he’s managed to beat back his diabetes with a vigilant diet. His mental health, though, was a different story....
I’m a Doctor. Trump Is Taking a Serious Toll on My Patients
posted by growabrain at 6:52 AM on November 13 [35 favorites]


Yeah, that's just plain perjury, friendo.

It'd be nice if the media pushed back on the term "perjury trap." While it technically is a thing, asking about an actual crime the subject committed, which the subject would like to lie about due to guilty knowledge, but the prosecutor has proof of and therefore will know the subject is lying, isn't a perjury trap at all. It's prosecution of a guilty individual.
posted by Gelatin at 7:06 AM on November 13 [33 favorites]




Regarding the U.S.A.-flagged Trumpy Bear

Which advertises, "Show your patriotism with the new Trumpy Bear" in classic Cult of Personality style.
Often, a single leader became associated with this revolutionary transformation and came to be treated as a benevolent "guide" for the nation without whom the transformation to a better future could not occur. This has been generally the justification for personality cults that arose in totalitarian societies, such as those of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong.
Ceterum autem censeo Trumpem esse delendam
posted by kirkaracha at 7:25 AM on November 13 [6 favorites]


David Neiwert on authoritarian personalities, unrolled Twitter thread: "No authoritarian regime has ever existed without a substantial portion of the population it rules actively supporting and preferring it. They all have large armies of followers who sustain them in power. So to understand authoritarianism, it’s essential first to understand the distinctive personality types that are attracted to it and support it. Because this what is keeping Donald Trump’s presidency afloat, and what makes it a threat to democracy itself."
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:30 AM on November 13 [55 favorites]


...And Twitter boycott doesn’t explain why the National Enquirer and Fox News Politics FACEBOOK pages have been dark since Friday.

Lawyers like serving things late friday because it ruins their opposing counsel's weekend. I imagine people got something, and their lawyers said, "Don't do anything until we get back to you!"

And they haven't. And since they lawyers weren't going to change their plans, are now reviewing the filings, and getting ready to advise their clients.

I think the Roger Stone thing is bigger than anyone imagined.
posted by mikelieman at 7:43 AM on November 13 [10 favorites]


Beyond the idiocy and ignorance of what NATO is and how it operates, this proves how much he was bothered by all the pix of Macron and Merkel being thick as thieves and excluding him. He's jealous and trying to gin up conflict between them

I imagine that there are few things that would push Donald Trump's buttons more than "I'm sorry, you're not on the list for the VIP room."
posted by mikelieman at 7:47 AM on November 13 [12 favorites]


Trump closed a diplomatic office designed to keep track of released Guantánamo inmates and make sure they didn’t return to their insurgencies. Now the U.S. government has lost track of several of them, including one who has returned to Syria
posted by growabrain at 7:56 AM on November 13 [25 favorites]


Lawyers like serving things late friday because it ruins their opposing counsel's weekend.

I worked with someone who had someone served at his wedding, right at the altar. "Are you so-and-so?" Hard to evade at that point.

But yes -- process serving can one of the fun parts of lawyering, a real creative outlet for being an unabashed dick.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:03 AM on November 13 [18 favorites]


Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two - How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!

Unusually, Matthew Gertz notes Trump did not pick up this talking point from Fox:
AFAICT Fox & Friends did not cover Macron during the 6 am hour before Trump's 6:50 am tweet, which means the feedback loop is working the other way this morning.

Once Trump informed Fox & Friends they should be pissed about Macron, they got pissed about Macron.

And the president appears to have gotten the Macron approval rating talking point from Brian Kilmeade.

Left, Fox & Friends, 7:29 am:
Kilmeade: "Big picture, he's got 26 percent approval rating, he thought he'd pick up a few points by beating up on" Trump.

Right, Trump, 8:17 am: ["The problem is that Emmanuel suffers from a very low Approval Rating in France, 26%, and an unemployment rate of almost 10%." and so on and so forth] (pic)
Whatever it was that set Trump off about Macron, it's interesting that for a change Fox & Friends started following his lead.

And now @realDonaldTrump tweeted, "By the way, when the helicopter couldn’t fly to the first cemetery in France because of almost zero visibility, I suggested driving. Secret Service said NO, too far from airport & big Paris shutdown. Speech next day at American Cemetary in pouring rain! Little reported-Fake News!" (which had to be deleted and then reposted without typo).

Trump's public schedule is almost empty today, except for an intelligence briefing at 11:30 AM and a Diwali ceremony at 1:45 PM, so he's going to have a lot of "executive time".
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:04 AM on November 13 [8 favorites]


David Neiwert on authoritarian personalities,

H. Arendt's insight on the first behavioral cluster Neiwart identifies, authoritarian submission: nobody has the right to obey.
posted by progosk at 8:04 AM on November 13 [6 favorites]


Has anyone watched Fox News? (I'm not volunteering) If they were boycotting Twitter (a) wouldn't they announce it every 30 minutes on TV,

Basically ever weekday I spend an hour in a room that has Outnumbered on in the background and I haven't noticed anything.

I'm envisioning something funny like those notifications aired on cable/satellite telling customers to call and complain when negotiations fall apart for random channels, but as far as I've noticed there hasn't been any mention of Twitter whatsoever. Though this particular show might not be the typical avenue for that sort of thing, I don't know.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 8:08 AM on November 13 [1 favorite]


Conservatives have gone fully fact-free: So how the heck do we even talk to them? - Amanda Marcotte, Salon
The “debate” over the Jim Acosta video shows the right has no use for facts. Is there any way to talk to them?

In truth, it doesn't actually require much in the way of grace or wits to gaslight liberals. All it requires is a shameless willingness to say obviously false things, and then watch your opponents -- still romantically attached to the idea of reasoned debate -- grow increasingly desperate in insisting that objective reality should inform one's opinions.

The first thing liberals and journalists should do is find ways to speak the truth without inviting conservatives to troll them with "debate" about it — debate that will inevitably just be the pitting of lies against truths, leaving those who still believe in reason frustrated and giving conservatives endless opportunities to gloat about their triggering talents.
...
There are a variety of tools that accomplish this, but the primary one is to avoid speaking to liars and instead speak about them.
...
Brevity is key here. Whenever you're explaining, you're losing.

It's a good idea to remember what the troll is trying to get out of this situation. For most conservatives who play this game, they "win" either by baiting a liberal into a pointless and unwinnable debate or by making the liberal flustered and angry. So don't reward them by giving them either.
...
Instead, try to raise the social costs of lying for the purpose of trolling -- as high as possible. For randos on social media, shame is admittedly unlikely. Blocking them and depriving them of the interaction they crave is the only real method. But on those occasions when you're engaged with a coworker, friend or family member, that's a time that social shaming — which liberals are often reluctant to use, but which can be really effective — is helpful.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:10 AM on November 13 [41 favorites]


Here's a chart from Critical Mention of all 2,500+ caravan mentions on Fox News from Oct 1st - today.
Fox peaked at more than 200 mentions, including re-runs on Oct. 22.
On Monday, 5 references.
posted by growabrain at 8:12 AM on November 13 [15 favorites]


Conservatives have gone fully fact-free: So how the heck do we even talk to them? - Amanda Marcotte, Salon

"avoid speaking to liars and instead speak about them"

My family is a blissful liberal bubble, but this article is an excellent guide to Thanksgiving for many here. Also a reasonable blueprint for political strategy from the left.
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:27 AM on November 13 [27 favorites]


Rep. [Jason] Lewis draws flak for blaming GOP election losses on John McCain

Lewis is the charmer who had a sad that you couldn't call women sluts anymore. And when confronted about it during the campaign, stood by those comments.
posted by chris24 at 8:46 AM on November 13 [8 favorites]


So when is the last time a U.S. president did not visit Arlington or another military memorial on Veterans Day?

CNN: Obama Not the 1st President to Miss Memorial Day at Arlington (2010)

But that's not the real answer to the question.


Particularly since he was attending a memorial at a different military graveyard.

"Let's set the record straight. Mr. Obama will participate today in a ceremony at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois, about 50 miles south of Chicago."
posted by srboisvert at 9:12 AM on November 13 [12 favorites]


RE: The Wisconsin Nazi school in Baraboo:
Jordan Blue is the only student not saluting.
Reporter Jules Suzdaltsev added: I called my grandma last night to let her know that internet Nazis had posted her address online because they were mad about something I wrote, and she said, "It's okay дорогой, if Nazis are mad at you then you're doing something right."
posted by growabrain at 9:15 AM on November 13 [84 favorites]


On Nielsen's replacement: frothingly anti-immigration Senator Tom Cotton [R - AR] spent the weekend making a lot of really uninformed tweets about asylum and such. It was probably his audition.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:15 AM on November 13 [4 favorites]


> On Nielsen's replacement: frothingly anti-immigration Senator Tom Cotton [R - AR] spent the weekend making a lot of really uninformed tweets about asylum and such. It was probably his audition.

I know that a special election in Arkansas would be a very remote pickup possibility, but the Trumpists have got to be looking at Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) and thinking long and hard about giving up a Senate incumbent at this point...

(And having written that, maybe Arkansas has some bizarre anti-democratic Senator replacement procedure?)
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:23 AM on November 13 [4 favorites]


homunculus: Doctors release new recommendations to reduce gun violence.

NRA tweet warns doctors to 'stay in their lane' over gun control.

After California Shooting, Doctors Hit Back at NRA for Trying to Silence Them Over Guns.

After Pittsburgh, Thousand Oaks, Will New Congress Push for Gun Safety Research?

Thousand Oaks parents: ‘I don’t want prayers. I don’t want thoughts. I want gun control.’


Very related, from the prior elections thread -- Chrysostom: 15 House Republicans with A NRA ratings lost on Tuesday. All 15 were replaced by Democrats with F NRA ratings.

A Third Rail No More: Incoming House Democrats Embrace Gun Control (NPR, Nov. 13, 2018)
The deadly mass shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif., last week came less than a day after dozens of Democrats who campaigned on promises to strengthen gun laws were elected to the House of Representatives. Across the country, candidates from Virginia, Georgia, Texas and Washington State bluntly called for more gun safety, seemingly emboldened to take on the NRA.

In total, 95 candidates endorsed by Giffords PAC won seats in the House. Giffords PAC is the gun-violence prevention group founded by former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband.

Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun control group founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, pointed to equally successful results — an 83 percent win rate among its 66 endorsements in federal races.

Both groups insist that in contests where they took on incumbents supported by the NRA, they were more successful than the powerful gun lobby.

In an emailed statement, the NRA said "gun control was not a decisive factor on election day," disputed the notion of a "blue wave" and pointed to key Senate wins in Tennessee, Indiana and Missouri, where NRA-backed candidates defeated Democratic incumbents.

Still, the NRA has not seen this level of electoral pushback in a long time. In recent elections, gun rights groups have consistently outspent gun control groups, according to data analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics. But not this year. Gun control groups spent about $2.4 million more than gun rights groups on congressional races in 2018.
First we ouspend them, then we win elections, and then we start addressing gun violence prevention (Angie Craig's section on gun violence prevention, which looks like a good start). Then we brand NRA a terrorist group? Enough of thoughts and prayers and fistfuls of NRA money (Michael Hiltzi for Los Angeles Times, Feb. 15, 2018). Banning firearm research is good as killing people, and then there's fear-mongering about "taking away your guns," even right after mass shootings (David Smith for The Guardian, Feb. 22, 2018).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:26 AM on November 13 [45 favorites]


Also from NPR today -- Firearms And Dementia: How Do You Convince A Loved One To Give Up Their Guns?

Good on NPR on pairing the policy with emotions, as facts alone are pushed aside as "fake news" or countered with other "facts."
posted by filthy light thief at 9:28 AM on November 13 [7 favorites]


Trump's public schedule is almost empty today, except for an intelligence briefing at 11:30 AM and a Diwali ceremony at 1:45 PM, so he's going to have a lot of "executive time".

Obama used to get shit about taking time to do an NCAA bracket.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:30 AM on November 13 [27 favorites]


some bizarre anti-democratic Senator replacement procedure

its just called racist voter supression.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:32 AM on November 13


(And having written that, maybe Arkansas has some bizarre anti-democratic Senator replacement procedure?)

The replacement would be chosen by the governor, Asa Hutchinson (R), who is very Trump-friendly, and would serve out Cotton's term in office, facing an election in 2020 (at the same time that Cotton would have, in this hypothetical).
posted by cjelli at 9:33 AM on November 13 [2 favorites]


It is worth noting that Arkansas passed that bill in February of 2017.
posted by soelo at 9:39 AM on November 13 [4 favorites]


I think the Roger Stone thing is bigger than anyone imagined.

It's already been proven that Roger Stone was in contact with Russian military intelligence about election interference. From there, it's easy to imagine a black hole–sized political scandal, even if we can only vaguely infer it at the moment.

NYT: In North Korea, Missile Bases Suggest a Great Deception

Meanwhile, @realDonaldTrump has moved on to defending himself against the new story out of North Korea, calling it "inaccurate" and "Just more Fake News." Claiming his administration "fully know about the sites being discussed", he promises his faithful, "I will be the first to let you know if things go bad!"

While South Korea agrees, 'Nothing New' In Report Identifying North Korean Bases—"North Korea never pledged a promise to abandon this missile sites," a spokesman for South Korea's president said (NBC), Trump's problem is that it shows him up as a master of the so-called art of the deal and instead just an ignorant huckster blundering about on the world stage.

Reminder: On July 13, @realDonaldTrump tweeted, "Just landed - a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!"
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:00 AM on November 13 [2 favorites]


Mueller seeking more details on Nigel Farage, claims Jerome Corsi, particularly interesting with the Brexit deal details coming out today
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:11 AM on November 13 [15 favorites]


(And having written that, maybe Arkansas has some bizarre anti-democratic Senator replacement procedure?)

As noted, Arkansas appoints Senate replacements. Is this anti-democratic, I guess, maybe? But 36 states do it, it's not some crypto-Jim Crow thing that only AR and MS do, or whatever.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:16 AM on November 13 [1 favorite]


Time for a new Brexit thread, clearly.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:19 AM on November 13 [8 favorites]


After 18 years of Bush, Obama & Trump, BuzzFlash Bids a Fond Farewell
posted by growabrain at 10:21 AM on November 13 [1 favorite]


TPM: WSJ Says Deputy NSC Director to Be Canned Over Spat with FLOTUS
posted by Chrysostom at 10:21 AM on November 13 [8 favorites]


claims Jerome Corsi

why anyone thinks that anything that comes out of the mouth of someone who's best buds with Roger Stone is newsworthy is beyond me.
posted by murphy slaw at 10:22 AM on November 13 [4 favorites]


Chrysostom: Time for a new Brexit thread, clearly.

A political blog I occasionally visit (Outside the Beltway) has already used the best possible title for it: Bregrets, They’ve Had A Few
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:29 AM on November 13 [16 favorites]


why anyone thinks that anything that comes out of the mouth of someone who's best buds with Roger Stone is newsworthy is beyond me.
Indeed, it will be interesting after all this to look at how Stone, Corsi & Co. were trying to spin what they thought was going on and supplant themselves as the source of all things Mueller.
posted by Harry Caul at 10:34 AM on November 13 [2 favorites]


claims Jerome Corsi

THis is the guy who piled up money by peddling a pseudoscientific theory of the earth's core being a source of an ever renewing supply of hydrocarbons.

Laughable, but his claims helped retard US progress towards getting off fossil fuels by a decade. I will toast the day he passes on to his reward
posted by ocschwar at 10:43 AM on November 13 [10 favorites]


(People who wonder what Tom Cotton getting a cabinet post would mean for Arkansas might enjoy this piece of analysis from last year, when the rumor was CIA director.)
posted by box at 10:52 AM on November 13 [2 favorites]


Chrysostom: TPM: WSJ Says Deputy NSC Director to Be Canned Over Spat with FLOTUS

Pulling quotes from the quoted WSJ piece:
The president became involved in that decision at the urging of first lady Melania Trump, whose staff battled with Ms. Ricardel during the first lady’s trip to Africa last month over seating on the plane and requests to use National Security Council resources, according to people familiar with the matter.

The first lady’s team told the president that they suspect Ms. Ricardel is behind some negative stories about Ms. Trump and her staff.

Ms. Ricardel also repeatedly clashed with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and his Pentagon team over staffing decisions and policy differences, according to people familiar with the feud. That discord has created a chill in relations between Ms. Ricardel and Defense Department officials wary of her intentions, these people say.

Ms. Ricardel has served as a vital ally for Mr. Bolton as he settled into his West Wing role after taking the national security job in April. Mr. Bolton lost another loyalist last month when his longtime friend, Fred Fleitz, stepped down after serving just six months as chief of staff and executive secretary for the National Security Council.
Focusing on the "spat" undermines the fact that Donald "I Like Conflict" Trump (Yahoo News, March 6, 2018) creates his own in-house chaos, because it entertains him.

Also, a reminder that this rate of turn-over is ridiculous, not the sign of a well-oiled machine. We can't forget that this isn't normal.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:56 AM on November 13 [23 favorites]


Also, a reminder that this rate of turn-over is ridiculous

Just wait until the congressional investigations get going!
posted by C'est la D.C. at 11:00 AM on November 13 [8 favorites]


claims Jerome Corsi --- THis is the guy who piled up money by peddling a pseudoscientific theory of the earth's core being a source of an ever renewing supply of hydrocarbons.

He's also Mr. Swift Boat so he can fuck off and die forever.
posted by chris24 at 11:15 AM on November 13 [39 favorites]


I love that France is trolling Trump.

French Embassy U.S. (@franceintheus)
Yesterday we participated in a ceremony at @ArlingtonNatl to honor the sacrifices of soldiers during #WWI by laying a wreath on the tomb of the #UnknownSoldier. #VeteransDay
PIX
posted by chris24 at 11:18 AM on November 13 [43 favorites]


I'm very fortunate in that my parents have been very progressive their whole life. However, they've not been the sort of people who attend rallies or protests. Trump has them fired up. My 77 year old (former-air force) dad went to his first political protest last Thursday. He got the Move-On notification at 4:30 and was there with a sign in his hand that said "Resist" by 5. I've always been proud of him, but I was so proud of him this time that I cried a little when I heard that he'd done that. My mom was at her volunteer job or she would have gone too.

Part of me hates that my parents are having to do this in their retirement years, but a bigger part of me is just so proud that they are willing to drop everything and stand up for truth and justice.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:21 AM on November 13 [85 favorites]


Daniel Dale delivers "Donald Trump Does Diwali":
—At his White House Diwali event, Trump calls up FCC chair Ajit Pai, then chides him over, I think, his handling of conservative Sinclair's attempt to buy Tribune Media: "I just didn't like one decision he made, but that's alright. Not even a little bit. But he's independent."
—Trump, instructed to light the multiple parts of the Diya, says he didn't want to be selfish. Pointing at the journalists in the room, he says, "They'll accuse me of being selfish."
—Struggling briefly to light one of the parts of the Diya, Trump says, "I thought somebody set me up here...where they think it's so cute...they didn't do that."
Short but sweet. And by sweet, I mean appalling.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:24 AM on November 13 [13 favorites]


The Atlantic, James Fallows: Can Marine One Fly in the Rain?
Why, exactly, did Donald Trump not join Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, and Justin Trudeau at Saturday’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the original Armistice Day? I don’t know, and I don’t think anyone outside the White House does at this point...just about any helicopter can fly in rain, bad weather, etc.
...
Of course, safety considerations are different when a president is traveling. The pilots and maintenance practices of Marine One are presumably the best that can be found, but the play-it-safe factor when carrying a president has to be larger than for other missions. So who knows whether some aviation official really said: Sorry, this is no-go.

But precisely because of those cautions and complexities, any known-universe past presidential travel plan would have a bad-weather option, or several of those, already lined up. This is the way it has worked in any White House I’ve been aware of.
Meanwhile, TPM: With New Excuse, Trump Blames Secret Service For Missing Military Cemetery
The White House initially said that poor weather had precluded flying a helicopter to Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial on Saturday. The President could have taken his motorcade 2.5 hours each way to visit the cemetery, but, according to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Sunday, the trip by car “would have required closures to substantial portions of the Paris roadways for the President’s motorcade, on short notice.”

“President Trump did not want to cause that kind of unexpected disruption to the city and its people,” Sanders said.

On Tuesday, Trump contradicted that, instead saying the Secret Service rejected his idea of driving.
This is one of those times when we know that at least one party is wrong, and likely lying, but we don't know why, or which (or whether it's really both.)
posted by cjelli at 11:24 AM on November 13 [25 favorites]




That is a really strong statement from the FLOTUS office. I would love to know more details about what happened on the Africa trip.
posted by all about eevee at 11:35 AM on November 13 [11 favorites]


For the FLOTUS to speak this loudly about it, it must have been one hell of a fight that provoked this statement -- like shouting obscenities and throwing of crockery.
posted by JackFlash at 11:37 AM on November 13 [1 favorite]


chris24: I love that France is trolling Trump.

French Embassy U.S. (@franceintheus) Yesterday we participated in a ceremony at @ArlingtonNatl to honor the sacrifices of soldiers during #WWI by laying a wreath on the tomb of the #UnknownSoldier. #VeteransDay


Trolling Trump can (now) be done by simply being humane.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:37 AM on November 13 [30 favorites]


Ms. Ricardel has served as a vital ally for Mr. Bolton as he settled into his West Wing role after taking the national security job in April. Mr. Bolton lost another loyalist last month when his longtime friend, Fred Fleitz, stepped down after serving just six months as chief of staff and executive secretary for the National Security Council.

Bolton used to be a Rumsfeld-class bureaucratic wrangler who made short work of H. R. McMasters when he came for his job. Now, barely more than half a year into running Donald Trump's National Security Council, he's down one ally and in danger of losing another. This is some Game of Thrones nonsense going here.

Instead of concentrating on his favorite project of threatening Iran, Bolton has to contend with distractions like cleaning up Jared's mess—saying the audio tape of Khashoggi's killing doesn't implicate the Saudi crown prince—or this spat with Melania. He looks like another example of the political adage "Everything Trump Touches Dies".

Sarah Kendzior, independent journalist and expert in authoritarians, puts this donnybrook in context: "Typical in autocratic governments. They fire frequently to create chaos and leave a void, weakening external checks. The void is then filled by an increasingly narrow circle of loyalists. The longer in power, the more paranoid the ruler gets, and the narrower the circle becomes."
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:39 AM on November 13 [25 favorites]


Trolling Trump can (now) could always be done by simply being humane.

FTFY, cf. the Central Park Five.
posted by bcd at 11:43 AM on November 13 [7 favorites]


Just asked the First Lady’s office about deputy national security advisor Mira Ricardel : “It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,”

Request for clarification of the antecdent of "she" in that statement.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:55 AM on November 13 [66 favorites]


This is one of those times when we know that at least one party is wrong, and likely lying, but we don't know why, or which (or whether it's really both.)

Trump is lying. If the President of the United States wants to go to a thing, particularly a thing to which he was invited and which has had advance teams and is not currently under some form of hurricane advisory and/or declaration of war, then his people (including his Marine air crew and his Secret Service detail) will get him there. If they cannot do so, then they will publicly and exhaustively detail the reasoning that went into that decision. Neither Marine Helicopter Squadron One nor the Secret Service has done anything of the sort. This is most likely because they are currently engaged in a shouting match with someone in Kelly's or Sanders' office; it may also be because no one has bothered to ask them to lie about it, because they know there would be a shouting match, and it is better simply to let Trump tell the lie and ignore questions about it.

Trump is lying. He didn't want to go, he didn't care that it would become a thing, he thinks he can use it as more "#FakeNews!!1!" tweet fodder, and he's probably right.
posted by Etrigan at 12:00 PM on November 13 [76 favorites]


We're talking about a security and support apparatus that literally ships a helicopter and motorcade overseas with the president whenever he travels. This was a super public moment of diplomatic importance and a moment of importance for the military--particularly, the military branch flying that very helicopter. A support/security screw-up on this would be the end of careers. If the president wanted to go, they would have gotten him there.

My first suspicion is Trump had some sort of meltdown in Paris and it's only a question of whether it was a matter of his physical health or something mental or emotional. It's possible he was with his inner circle freaking out about the mid-terms and indictments and all that. Trump's Razor suggests he was either throwing a tantrum or his lifestyle caught up with him while he was traveling and he doesn't want anyone to know he's a mess.

They make contingency plans. They have protocols for everything. The one thing that could break down to stop the show isn't the weather or the helicopter or the motorcade. It's the guy they're all there to escort.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:12 PM on November 13 [91 favorites]


Wait .... that Diwali stuff is *not* satire????
posted by sio42 at 12:22 PM on November 13 [5 favorites]




I didn't think the Dale's coverage of Trump's Diwali ceremony needed a [real] tag, but those are the reports coming out. We're accustomed to full-blown shit-shows, but this was more like a shit-sketch.

Maggie Haberman relayed:
"Thank you very much everybody, we'll be talking about," Trump tells the pool at the Diwali ceremony when questions about Nielsen and the CNN suit were shouted out.

He then walked out of the room.
Her colleague Niraj Chokshi has more:
President Trump just announced his nominee to replace Kavanaugh on the D.C. Circuit: Neomi Rao, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

He announced it at a Diwali ceremony. "We were going to announce that tomorrow,” he said.
Buzzfeed's Zoe Tillman has posted an article about Rao: Trump Is Nominating Neomi Rao To Take Justice Brett Kavanaugh's Former Seat, noting, "Rao was considered a frontrunner for Kavanaugh's seat from the start (see our story right after Kavanaugh was confirmed[...] — she's got a long track record in administrative law, which is a big part of the DC Circuit docket, and deep conservative bona fides. Why does the DC Circuit matter? It's the main forum for big legal fights over executive power and agency actions[…]."
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:36 PM on November 13 [2 favorites]


Just asked the First Lady’s office about deputy national security advisor Mira Ricardel : “It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” Stephanie Grisham The First Lady’s communication director to @ABC

Join me for a moment in a brief magical journey back to the time when things mattered. The year was 1993, when seven employees of the White House Travel Office were fired. First Lady Hillary Clinton was accused of orchestrating the firings, then lying about them. This led to William Safire calling Hillary "a congenital liar," connected to the Vince Foster narrative in ways not worth getting into, and set the stage for *waves hands variously at all this*. The investigations lasted from 1993 all the way to 2000, and Clinton was wildly painted as Machiavellian and deceitful for exceeding her expected role as First Lady.

So of course here we are in 2018, and the First Lady's office, and I remind you that nobody elected Melania Trump, is openly decreeing that a national security aide should be fired. Nothing matters.
posted by zachlipton at 12:40 PM on November 13 [118 favorites]


And just an update on that:

@MichaelCBender: John Bolton’s No. 2, Mira Ricardel, was escorted from the White House moments ago, an administration officials tell ⁦@WSJ⁩. Ricardel was standing just a few feet from President Trump earlier this afternoon.
posted by zachlipton at 12:42 PM on November 13 [23 favorites]


The Trump administration's series of corruption scandals has regionals

AL.com: Trump’s Southeast Regional EPA Administrator Indicted On Alabama Ethics Charges "A Jefferson County grand jury has indicted the Southeast regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and a former Alabama Environmental Management Commissioner for violating state ethics laws. Charges include multiple violations of Alabama’s Ethics Act, including soliciting a thing of value from a principal, lobbyist or subordinate, and receiving money in addition that received in one’s official capacity, according to the Alabama Ethics Commission."

Now that Trump's appointees have had a year or two to get their snouts in the public trough, we can expect more of this sort of thing to break into the headlines.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:43 PM on November 13 [20 favorites]


And just an update on that update on that, from @EamonJavers [CNBC]:
A White House official just told reporters the WSJ story is not accurate. Says Mira Ricardel has not been fired or escorted off the grounds and is at her desk and still works at the WH now.

Asked if the White House has a response to the statement from the First Lady’s spokesperson that Ricardel “no longer deserved the honor of serving in the White House” the official said: “the East Wing speaks for the East Wing.” I asked the official if Ricardel will still be sitting at her desk tomorrow. The official said: “I don’t know, will you guys be sitting in your booths tomorrow? We’ll see.”
So everyone hates everyone, basic facts like "is this person inside or outside" are apparently unknowable, and we're randomly threatening to throw the press corps out of the building. Welcome to Tuesday at the White House.
posted by zachlipton at 12:58 PM on November 13 [49 favorites]


John Bolton’s No. 2, Mira Ricardel, was escorted from the White House moments ago

They (Team Melania?) waited until Bolton was traveling in Singapore to axe her.

Time for CNN to update their scoreboard: Who Has Left Trump's Administration and Orbit? Ricardel lasted only 183 days—just as long as Sean Spicer. (Nikki Haley is the current record-holder for longest-lasting departing Trump official. Jeff Sessions follows, just barely ahead of Don McGahn, having served 639 days to McGahn's 636.)

Trump's claims of running a "well-oiled machine" notwithstanding, this astonishing rate of turnover is deeply abnormal.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:59 PM on November 13 [3 favorites]


Time for CNN to update their scoreboard: Who Has Left Trump's Administration and Orbit? Ricardel lasted only 183 days—just as long as Sean Spicer. (Nikki Haley is the current record-holder for longest-lasting departing Trump official. Jeff Sessions follows, just barely ahead of Don McGahn, having served 639 days to McGahn's 636.)

anthony scaramucci's record stands untouched, and seems likely to remain so.

(technically he tied with sally yates but she was not hired by trump)
posted by murphy slaw at 1:02 PM on November 13 [3 favorites]


@anniekarni: A new thing on Trump’s private schedule that I haven’t seen before: in addition to some “executive time” today, he has two blocks of “policy time.”

@jdawsey1: It was installed earlier this year to help him focus on issues. A Kelly creation. It sometimes goes better than others.

So Trump's executive time can be interrupted by policy time, which is presumably when Kelly tells him he has to turn off the TV and get his homework done before Tucker Carlson comes on.
posted by zachlipton at 1:07 PM on November 13 [34 favorites]


So, um, Scavino thought it would be nice to use Trump's account to tweet about the President's Diwali celebration. Except he called it "a holiday observed by Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains throughout the United States." As the first, second, and fourth sentences of the Wikipedia article on Diwali will tell you, it's celebrated by Hindus.

No worries, he'll just delete the tweet and try again, except, no, wait, he made the same mistake a second time.
posted by zachlipton at 1:16 PM on November 13 [40 favorites]


"a holiday observed by Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains throughout the United States."

TRUMP: We're starting to say merry Diwali again... You notice a big difference between now and two or three years ago? It was going in the other direction rapidly, right? [fake]
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:21 PM on November 13 [6 favorites]


Sopan Deb on twitter (in the same twitter thread zachlipton linked to):
WERE GOING TO START SAYING HAPPY DIWALI AGAIN! [real- sarcastic, but real]
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:23 PM on November 13 [3 favorites]


It is celebrated by some in those groups in addition to Hindus according to the Wikipedia entry.
posted by wobumingbai at 1:25 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]


Yes, I should clarify Diwali is not only celebrated by Hindus, but since there are over a billion adherents to Hinduism around the world, it's a major omission.

His third attempt finally mentions Hindus, but omits all the other religions previously mentioned.
posted by zachlipton at 1:28 PM on November 13 [13 favorites]


In summary, Diwali is a holiday of contrast.
posted by cmfletcher at 1:33 PM on November 13 [57 favorites]


Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, and Sikhs have their own concurrent holiday. It's like Christmas season. Honestly, I can't tell if @realDonaldTrump is deliberately trolling us by repeatedly screwing up like this as a distraction or if they're really that stupid and the distraction is just a by-product.

The LA Times paints an ugly picture of behind the scenes at the Trump White House: Trump, Stung By Midterms And Nervous About Mueller, Retreats From Traditional Presidential Duties
With the certainty that the incoming Democratic House majority will go after his tax returns and investigate his actions, and the likelihood of additional indictments by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, Trump has retreated into a cocoon of bitterness and resentment, according to multiple administration sources.

Behind the scenes, they say, the president has lashed out at several aides, from junior press assistants to senior officials. “He’s furious,” said one administration official. “Most staffers are trying to avoid him.”

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, painted a picture of a brooding president “trying to decide who to blame” for Republicans’ election losses, even as he publicly and implausibly continues to claim victory.
The LAT also addresses how Trump's sulking will further undermine his administration's standing at the ongoing Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, which Mike Pence is attending in his place (in itself a snub to our Asian allies).
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:36 PM on November 13 [15 favorites]


if I were one of our Asian allies, I'd be pretty pleased DJT didn't come.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:37 PM on November 13 [14 favorites]


Maryland AG files motion challenging Whitaker appointment " Frosh said in a statement, "The Constitution and Congress have established vitally important processes for filling high-level vacancies in the federal government. Few positions are more critical than that of U.S. Attorney General, an office that wields enormous enforcement power and authority over the lives of all Americans. President Trump's brazen attempt to flout the law and Constitution in bypassing Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rosenstein in favor of a partisan and unqualified staffer cannot stand."
posted by Harry Caul at 1:39 PM on November 13 [15 favorites]


The US is making it harder to cross the border at Tijuana (Buzzfeed):

It’s the latest mission for the thousands of troops the Trump administration has deployed to the border as a result of the incoming migrant caravan. As the thousands of Central Americans have approached, the White House has ordered a number of policy shifts that advocates and experts characterize as legally questionable, ineffective, and frenzied. [...]

Former Homeland Security officials pointed to the shutdown as evidence that the administration cares little about migrants making asylum claims when they arrive at the border.

“At the end of the day, they want to block people from making asylum claims — period,” said John Sandweg, former head of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the Obama administration. “It isn’t about the reasons they purported to say in the regulation and proclamation — to create a more orderly process — this is about blocking people from making asylum claims and getting around the statutes.”
posted by Emmy Rae at 1:42 PM on November 13 [7 favorites]


...it's beginning to look a lot like Diwali...
posted by growabrain at 1:43 PM on November 13


A White House official just told reporters the WSJ story is not accurate.

Is it too much to ask, if we're taking official statements from people, and particularly official contradictions of press reports, that we name them?
posted by jackbishop at 1:46 PM on November 13 [17 favorites]


What the hell is going on here? And who the hell is Javer's source?

Sounds an awful lot like Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, to me.

Although the "we'll see" is a favorite expression of the orange pupa currently cocooning in bitterness and resentment.
posted by notyou at 1:48 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]


HuffPost, Republicans Launch Surprise Bid To Prevent Debate On U.S. Support For Bloody Saudi War
Republican leadership in the House of Representatives will move Tuesday evening to quash a bill that would end U.S. support for the brutal Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, a Democratic aide and an activist in touch with multiple Capitol Hill offices told HuffPost.

Coming on the first day of a lame-duck session — the GOP’s final few weeks controlling the lower chamber — the bid surprised anti-war advocates and top Democrats who have been rallying opposition to the controversial Yemen war for months and made clear they wanted a serious debate on the matter soon after the midterms.

The bill argues that the U.S. assistance is illegal, since Congress never voted on it, and the legislation has the public support of the Democratic future chairmen of the most important House panels dealing with foreign policy ― Reps. Adam Smith (Wash.) and Eliot Engel (N.Y.) ― as well as leaders like Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.)
...
Meanwhile, the situation in Yemen has become more dire, with the United Nations repeatedly calling it the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and aid groups issuing urgent warnings over the past two months that more than 14 million people are on the brink of famine.
posted by zachlipton at 1:48 PM on November 13 [7 favorites]


Maryland AG files motion challenging Whitaker appointment

Motion and memorandum of law, if you're into those things.
posted by mikelieman at 1:49 PM on November 13 [4 favorites]


I'm just holding out for Muellerwali later this week.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:50 PM on November 13 [74 favorites]


> The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, painted a picture of a brooding president “trying to decide who to blame” for Republicans’ election losses, even as he publicly and implausibly continues to claim victory.

The scaffolding holding Trump's ego in place must be incredibly intricate yet rickety. I picture a building which was built too tall and starts to lean to one side, forcing workers to hastily lay down temporary support structures, which in turn cause the building the lean the other way, which necessitates the establishment of support structures on that side, etc., etc., forever.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:50 PM on November 13 [5 favorites]


Some updates on the CNN lawsuit.

@chrisgeidner: The CNN lawsuit against Trump has been assigned to Judge Timothy J. Kelly, a Trump appointee who was a former counsel to Chuck Grassley. FWIW: I don't think it's as clear a sign as you all do that it was assigned to Judge Kelly! Note: He worked for Grassley on Judiciary when Grassley and Graham were the two Republicans to vote for the federal media shield law in committee.

@chrisgeidner: JUST IN: Judge orders the Trump administration to respond to CNN's TRO request by 11a Wednesday. Hearing set for 3:30p Wednesday.

So this is moving quickly.
posted by zachlipton at 1:55 PM on November 13 [22 favorites]


I picture Trump's psyche as the Winchester Mystery House
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 1:57 PM on November 13 [23 favorites]


Doktor Zed: The LA Times paints an ugly picture of behind the scenes at the Trump White House: Trump, Stung By Midterms And Nervous About Mueller, Retreats From Traditional Presidential Duties

I'd like a graph or some other document detailing what Trump used to do that was so presidential that he has stopped doing, like the President's daily briefings ... oh wait, he stopped taking daily briefings before he was in office (reported by NPR on Dec. 13, 2016).
posted by filthy light thief at 2:11 PM on November 13 [14 favorites]


@chrisgeidner: JUST IN: Judge orders the Trump administration to respond to CNN's TRO request by 11a Wednesday. Hearing set for 3:30p Wednesday.

1:18-cv-02610 CABLE NEWS NETWORK, INC. et al v. TRUMP et al
Anyone got a PACER account they don't mind using?
posted by mikelieman at 2:22 PM on November 13


> Maryland AG files motion challenging Whitaker appointment

Maryland Challenges Appointment of Trump’s Acting Attorney General

This is connected to Maryland's current law suit against the DOJ over the ACA:
Maryland’s current motion is relevant to Maryland’s ongoing lawsuit from September, suing the ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions for “his official capacity” joining in with a Texas case that attempted to “dismantle” the Affordable Care Act.

In June, the Justice Department refused to defend the ACA in a Texas Case that attempted to tried to throw out Major ACA provisions, like protecting individuals with pre-existing conditions. They also argued that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act had made the Obama Administrations the healthcare tax mandate unconstitutional.

Judge Hollander’s ruling will determine who can legally substitute for Sessions as a defendant in this ACA suit.

“The health care of millions of Marylanders and Americans is at stake,” said Frosh. “The suit cannot go forward without a legitimate Attorney General, and an Acting Attorney General making decisions that could affect matters of life and death without lawful authority puts all of us at risk.”
posted by homunculus at 2:22 PM on November 13 [6 favorites]


> Fox News hasn't tweeted in, so far as I can tell, 4 full days.

Ditto WikiLeaks, coincidentally.


And Julian Assange's blue-ticked Twitter account @JulianAssange has now been suspended.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:25 PM on November 13 [26 favorites]


Hmmm... All this twitter accounts going dark. I guess finally Twitter exec realize that furthering a conspiracy is a bad idea.
Unlawful use

You may not use our service for any unlawful purposes or in furtherance of illegal activities. By using Twitter, you agree to comply with all applicable laws governing your online conduct and content.
posted by mikelieman at 2:31 PM on November 13 [3 favorites]


Anyone have a pulse on the bot traffic on Twitter? Any strange hashtags or trends popping up?
posted by filthy light thief at 2:35 PM on November 13 [3 favorites]


mikelieman: I guess finally Twitter exec realize that furthering a conspiracy is a bad idea.

If Twitter itself were the one behind the silence (which seems to include Fox, Wikileaks, and... Jill Stein!), we'd hear, in other corners of the web, absolutely no end of the whining from at least some of those involved. Also, the company would simply name the policy being followed and/or apply a formal block, as they have done plenty of times in the past.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 2:39 PM on November 13 [6 favorites]


Ooh! I think I hear Mueller sliding down twitter's chimney! 🎄
posted by sexyrobot at 2:43 PM on November 13 [12 favorites]


Jill Stein has been mostly quiet but she tweeted once and retweeted a couple things so I don't know if she should be included in the radio silence or not.
posted by Justinian at 2:43 PM on November 13 [2 favorites]


Buzzfeed: Joseph Mifsud Wants to Testify Before the Senate, a Lawyer Claims—“We are working towards his appearance,” a lawyer closely associated with the Maltese professor wrote in an email to BuzzFeed News.

"[I]n an email to BuzzFeed News sent on Monday, Stephan Roh, a 51-year-old Swiss lawyer with a long history of dealings with Mifsud, wrote, “Prof Mifsud is to testify in front of the US Senate — we are working towards his appearance.” Spokespeople for the Senate Intelligence Committee declined to comment, and BuzzFeed News has been unable to independently verify this claim."

The Atlantic's Natasha Bertrand: "New: Joseph Mifsud's lawyer Stephan Roh told me a few days ago that he is negotiating with the Senate Intelligence Committee to have Mifsud testify. Senate Intel has declined to comment, but since BuzzFeed just reported on Roh's claims, here's the full email he sent me on Friday. Note: This was his response to my questions about the claims in his book, that Papadopoulos has been echoing, that Mifsud was associated with western intelligence agencies." (pic)

Roh sounds like a piece of work, per Bertrand, writing in the Atlantic last May:
FBI agents working for special counsel Robert Mueller allegedly detained a lawyer with ties to Russia who is closely associated with Joseph Mifsud, the shadowy professor who claimed during the election that Russia had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

The revelation was made in a book co-written by that lawyer, Stephan Roh, and set to be published next month. “The Faking of RUSSIA-GATE: The Papadopoulos Case” is the latest in a stream of books aiming to capitalize on the chaos of this political moment.[...]

The lawyer allegedly questioned by Mueller’s team, Stephan Roh, is a German multimillionaire with ties to Russia. He hired Mifsud as a “business-development consultant” in 2015, and is Mifsud’s “partner and best friend” and “the money behind him,” Papadopoulos’s wife, Simona Mangiante, who worked for Mifsud briefly, told me. Roh’s wife is Olga Roh, a Russian fashion designer who appeared on the British reality TV show Meet the Russians.[...]

Roh intersected with Mifsud at two institutions: the now-defunct London Academy of Diplomacy and Link Campus University, a private institution in Rome that Roh co-owns, and where Mifsud taught briefly. In April 2016, Mifsud and Roh spoke on a panel together at the Kremlin-backed Valdai Club—a think tank that is close to President Vladimir Putin and hosts him every year for a keynote address. The club is described in the book as “one of the most influential Russian think tanks in Moscow, maybe even the most prestigious.”
As though today hasn't been weird enough…
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:47 PM on November 13 [13 favorites]


There's a whole different Whitaker scandal that previously escaped attention. AP, Whitaker abandoned taxpayer-funded project in Iowa in 2016
While in private business, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker walked away from a taxpayer-subsidized apartment-rehabilitation project in Iowa after years of cost overruns, delays and other problems, public records show.

The city of Des Moines ultimately yanked an affordable housing loan that Whitaker’s company had been awarded, and another lender began foreclosure proceedings after Whitaker defaulted on a separate loan for nearly $700,000. Several contractors complained they were not paid, and a process server for one contractor could not even find Whitaker or his company to serve him with a lawsuit.
posted by zachlipton at 2:50 PM on November 13 [33 favorites]


Joseph Mifsud Wants to Testify Before the Senate, a Lawyer Claims

The first step is proof of life.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:53 PM on November 13 [17 favorites]


>> Fox News hasn't tweeted in, so far as I can tell, 4 full days.

> Ditto WikiLeaks, coincidentally.

And Julian Assange's blue-ticked Twitter account @JulianAssange has now been suspended


@RudyGiuliani has been radio silent since Nov. 9.

@NatEnquirer just started tweeting again this afternoon, having gone quiet for the duration of the holiday weekend.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:58 PM on November 13


Madison365 (WI): Baraboo Schools Investigating Purported Nazi Salute Prom Photo.

Hey, it's my alma mater!

I wish I could say I'm surprised by this, but these kinds of attitudes were around more than 20 years ago. I guess I'm a little surprised by the number of students in the photo (it's higher than I would have thought).

When I was a senior, somebody ran for student council and made posters with his head "photoshopped" (is that what we call it when it was a zine-style cut-and-paste photocopy job?) onto Nazi guard bodies. Nobody said boo about it. It didn't even make the local paper. It's possible a teacher made him take them down (my memory is pretty fuzzy), but I think the overall response was a collective eye roll.

Another time a student came out as gay in speech class. Probably the first to come out in the high school's history, and his classmates were not kind. All manner of bullying followed, including physical and verbal assault. Teachers and administrators did nothing.
posted by rocketman at 3:03 PM on November 13 [21 favorites]


There are many reports of school administrators waving off reports of racial slurs, harassment and other behaviors. Any idea if there is a political or legal method for getting the principal fired?
posted by msalt at 3:07 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]


> Joseph Mifsud Wants to Testify Before the Senate, a Lawyer Claims

The first step is proof of life.


Bellingcat's Raphael Satter is in the process of parsing the metadata on a photo of Mifsud that Stephen Roh sent him last month, which supposedly was taken in Zurich:
The picture shows Mifsud in what appears to be an office somewhere, wearing a white collared shirt and clasping a pen in his right hand, looking up at the camera with a serious, slightly quizzical look. On the table: a signed power of attorney document and the May 17 edition of Zurichsee-Zeitung, a Swiss-German newspaper. Also on the table, off to the side, is what appears to be a copy of the Democratic National Committee’s lawsuit against the Russian government, WikiLeaks, the Trump campaign, and many others (including Mifsud) resting under a pair of eyeglasses. It’s just barely visible, but Mifsud’s name appears to be highlighted in pink. On a chair to Mifsud’s right is a dark blazer and a stylish attache case.
Roh told Satter the image was intended "for verification purposes and asked me not to publish it."
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:07 PM on November 13 [4 favorites]




Not to abuse the edit window on CNN v Trump et al... I'm dying here. In that complaint, the first 2 cites are NY Times v. Sullivan and Hustler v. Falwell. If this is the inflection point where this mess finally turns around, this is a hell of a kickoff.
posted by mikelieman at 3:15 PM on November 13 [16 favorites]


WaPo, D.C. man arrested on gun charge after relatives alert police to his alleged white nationalist outbursts
Court papers assert that after his brother’s death, Jeffrey Clark posted on Gab a photo of the brothers wearing masks and holding a shotgun and a rifle, in front of a flag with a skull and cross bones. The documents said Jeffrey Clark posted a description of himself as a “Meth-Smoking, Pipe bomb making, mailman-murding ... Che Guevara of the altright.”

Of the attack on the synagogue, court papers said Jeffrey Clark posted a picture of the suspected gunman spattered in what appears to be blood and wrote, “This was a dry run for things to come.”
posted by zachlipton at 3:19 PM on November 13 [15 favorites]


The longer the Fox twitter blackout lasts the less plausible the Tucker Carlson cover story becomes. I'm surprised none of the other networks have picked up the story.
posted by Justinian at 3:22 PM on November 13 [9 favorites]


NYT, Jennifer Senior, I Take Back My Praise of Jeff Flake’s Book
This happens more than you’d think. I would know. For just over two years, I was a daily book critic for this paper. I second-guessed myself more than I’d care to admit.

But there are almost no reviews I’d take back.

Now, however, I’m seriously reconsidering my mostly kind review of “Conscience of a Conservative” by Senator Jeff Flake, the Republican from Arizona, whose successor, Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat, was finally announced last night.
...
I said that Flake’s book had rhetorical power.

But looking back on it, it didn’t. Jeff Flake’s book couldn’t even convince Jeff Flake. As of this writing, he has voted with Trump 84 percent of the time.
posted by zachlipton at 3:45 PM on November 13 [35 favorites]


AP DoJ reporter Eric Tucker: Attorneys for George Papadopoulos have filed motion to withdraw from the case.

Which led to George Papadopoulos's posting streak on Twitter today:
—Big announcement coming this week. Enough of the responsive and passive approach.
—Two options for Joseph Mifsud’s testimony: 1) I was just acting like a big shot to Papadopoulos when I was validating rumors to him about Clinton and emails. 2) The checks have stopped from western intelligence, and I am here to testify that I was working with them to hurt Trump.
—If I was a western intelligence agent sent on an operation to cause a Russia conspiracy, I would be livid if my own colleagues threw me under the bus and called me a Russian agent just to get a FISA. Looking forward to hearing Mifsud’s testimony. It’s in the national interest.
—To be clear: I am extremely happy with my current legal team. The lawyers who withdrew today did not have my confidence for months and are not part of any current discussions. I wish them well.
@simonamangiante has been pretty active today, too.

The whole thing smells like provokatsiya in preparation for a nice big dezinformatsiya campaign. And I'm still wondering if we should read anything into Putin giving Trump a big, public thumbs-up on Sunday.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:48 PM on November 13 [8 favorites]


The longer the Fox twitter blackout lasts the less plausible the Tucker Carlson cover story becomes.

I sorta agree with this, but I can't think of any alternative explanations. Some folks have suggested a link to Mueller and incoming indictments, but why would past interaction with Russian troll teams or Cambridge Analytica (just for example) demand halting twitter activity now and in the future? So if it isn't the past that prompted the boycott, what is it in the present?

Weird.

(Meanwhile, Tucker Carlson himself isn't boycotting Twitter, so, er, there's that.)
posted by notyou at 3:49 PM on November 13 [4 favorites]


Politico, Dan Diamond, HHS talks to anti-abortion groups, scientists as it weighs canceling fetal tissue research
The Trump administration is continuing to weigh plans to discontinue more than $100 million in research projects that use fetal tissue, alarming scientists and some HHS officials while invigorating the president’s supporters in the anti-abortion community.

The White House last week convened a meeting to consider canceling the projects, according to two individuals with knowledge, and anti-abortion groups like Susan B. Anthony List have been invited to give input. Scientists who use fetal tissue in their research also have been invited to defend their work.
..
The review began in September after HHS abruptly terminated one longstanding contract with a fetal tissue provider and opened an audit of all federally funded research and practices related to fetal tissue, most of which is obtained from abortions.

Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir, the politically appointed official leading the review, is expected to issue recommendations on whether or not to continue funding the research. Giroir has been enthusiastic about the possibility of replacing fetal tissue with alternatives, said two people who have spoken to him.
...
Fetal tissue has been instrumental in developing vaccines, scientists say, such as researching how the Zika virus affects the brains of fetuses in utero. Researchers maintain there are few feasible alternatives.
posted by zachlipton at 3:56 PM on November 13 [6 favorites]


Giuliani may be staying quiet on Twitter, but it seems he's been spending his time leaking to the press:

ABC: Trump And His Legal Team Met Monday To Answer Mueller's Questions: Sources

Reuters: Trump Could Answer Written Russia Probe Questions This Week: Source

There's nothing substantial in these leaks, of course, but at least we now know what Trump was doing yesterday instead of attending Veterans Day ceremonies at Arlington.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:59 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]


I sorta agree with this, but I can't think of any alternative explanations. Some folks have suggested a link to Mueller and incoming indictments, but why would past interaction with Russian troll teams or Cambridge Analytica (just for example) demand halting twitter activity now and in the future?

I like mikelieman's suggestion above that their lawyers suggested a twitter break, pending some legal development. Or maybe they're all just readying a new media strategy as the special counsel probe proceeds into a new phase.

There's nothing substantial in these leaks, of course, but at least we now know what Trump was doing yesterday instead of attending Veterans Day ceremonies at Arlington.

I mean, we can never be sure Giuliani's telling the truth, but this gives credence to our speculation about Trump's absence, and the cocoon-of-bitterness-and-resentment reporting.
posted by cudzoo at 4:06 PM on November 13


suggestion above that their lawyers suggested a twitter break, pending some legal development

I keep seeing people speculate on this. Is there any reason for it? Fox News is still active on Facebook, not to mention the fact that they're still running a television network in which they constantly spew their ideas across the nation. I agree that their Twitter silence is conspicuous, but they have in no way gone generally silent, and I just haven't seen any basis besides total speculation for the idea that some kind of pending legal action involving them has them spooked. Or did I miss something?
posted by zachlipton at 4:14 PM on November 13 [4 favorites]


at least we now know what Trump was doing yesterday instead of attending Veterans Day ceremonies at Arlington

They've been procrastinating on this for months. It seems pretty urgent to skip the Arlington ceremony on Monday--especially immediately after blowing off the ceremony in France--instead of meeting on Tuesday.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:25 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]


Can anyone expand on WTF any of that Papodopolous bit a few comments above means??
posted by yoga at 4:34 PM on November 13 [5 favorites]


Can anyone expand on WTF any of that Papodopolous bit a few comments above means??

yes. papodopolous is not very bright, and is receiving terrible advice from someone, possibly his wife, who may or may not be italian and/or a russian agent.
posted by murphy slaw at 4:37 PM on November 13 [21 favorites]


but at least we now know what Trump was doing yesterday instead of attending Veterans Day ceremonies at Arlington.

On rereading, I feel foolish for having typed this. There's absolutely no reason to trust this version of events, particularly not from anonymous leakers on Team Trump. I should have said: "but at least we now know what they want us to think Trump was doing yesterday instead of attending Veterans Day ceremonies at Arlington."

Can anyone expand on WTF any of that Papodopolous bit a few comments above means??

That presumes it means something rather than being distracting nonsense.

Business Insider has more: George Papadopoulos Dumped By His Own Lawyers As The Former Trump Aide Embarks On a 'Self-Defeating Gambit'
Elie Honig, a former prosecutor from the Southern District of New York, told INSIDER that Papadopoulos' lawyers' reasoning is atypical.

"Normally, when a case is over and a defendant is sentenced, the lawyers don't formally withdraw from representing that person," Honig said. "The case just ends. The lawyer doesn't say, 'OK, I'm out.'"

Honig said it was more likely that Papadopoulos' "lawyers are trying to disassociate with him because of the conspiracy theories he's spreading, or perhaps they told him to knock it off and he's not listening."[...]

The other possibility, Honig said, is that if Papadopoulos is seriously considering withdrawing his guilty plea, his lawyers would no longer be able to represent him because of a conflict of interest.[...]

"There's no way Mueller would cooperate with him again if Papadopoulos withdrew his plea," Honig said. "So his only options are to enter a guilty plea without a cooperation agreement, which would almost certainly require him to do more than 14 days. Or he can go all the way and go to trial, where he would be buried."

"So he's got nowhere to go here," Honig added. "It's a self-defeating gambit."
As murphy slaw said, someone on Team Trump appears to be giving him terrible advice. But like the rest of the has-beens, fuck-ups, and third-rate grifters that Trump somehow attracts into his orbit, he's willing to take it because he thinks, mistakenly, it'll advance his own interests.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:42 PM on November 13 [8 favorites]


To further surmise: George Papadopolous, after reaching the Bargaining stage of grief as occasioned by his signing of a plea deal, has unfortunately backslid back into Denial instead of progressing to Depression and Acceptance. "I knew I didn't really try to conspire with the Russian government! I was just being used by the dems." It's entirely possible he's convinced himself of that.
posted by Room 101 at 4:43 PM on November 13 [6 favorites]


All quiet on the western Trump (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
When asked about his favorite books, Donald Trump frequently cites Erich Maria Remarque’s classic World War I novel “All Quiet on the Western Front.” He told Michael Wolff he was rereading it. He told Megyn Kelly it was his favorite. Given his apparently boundless passion for this book, it may be surprising he could not muster the fortitude to show up at a rainy event commemorating the end of World War I. However, anyone who has read “All Quiet on the Western Front” even once will remember how often they had to call the war on account of weather. Below are some excerpts. Thanks to my chatter who suggested this!

Kemmerich has lost his foot. He looks ghastly. His voice sounds like ashes. As soon as the rain stops, we will go and get his foot back for him. We can’t risk it before.

Katczinsky and I leave him on the stretcher and go to the mess tent. The rations have not come up yet. As long as it rains, they cannot risk the cook getting damp. If the cook were damp, no one would know what to do.

“It’s no good,” Kat says. Kat is an old soldier.

I know better than to ask him if it will be long.

A hideous and noxious mist begins to rise and billow toward us across No Man’s Land. Fear clamps my chest like a cold hand. But soon the word goes down the line, “It’s only gas.” “It isn’t fog.” We put on our masks and give thanks. So far I have escaped the weather altogether.

I am young. I am 20 years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. But I have not been caught in a chilly mist with nothing but an umbrella to protect me. I have been spared that.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:51 PM on November 13 [41 favorites]


The new Papadopolous angle seems to rest on accusing this Misfud character of actually being a Western intel agent (rather than a Russian one as the sheeple would believe), perpetrating a sting. At least, that's going by his retweet of Simona, his fiance (not wife).

George also seems confident that Misfud will testify as such, on the basis that his being called a Russian agent amounts to betrayal from his American colleagues and he'd be eager to set the record straight. Assuming everything he's saying is a delusion (or even if somehow it isn't), I'm not sure how anyone can possibly expect that. I mean, would Misfud benefit from declaring himself to be an American spy?
posted by InTheYear2017 at 4:59 PM on November 13 [2 favorites]


At least, that's going by his retweet of Simona, his fiance (not wife).

They got married last year.
posted by murphy slaw at 5:02 PM on November 13 [3 favorites]




Yeah I had a lapse there in reading an article without checking the date.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:15 PM on November 13


The Post brings us further details on the above-mentioned "cocoon of bitterness and resentment" (and honestly, I've never felt so close to him; welcome to the club) in Five days of fury: Inside Trump’s Paris temper, election woes and staff upheaval
As he jetted to Paris last Friday, President Trump received a congratulatory phone call aboard Air Force One. British Prime Minister Theresa May was calling to celebrate the Republican Party’s wins in the midterm elections — never mind that Democrats seized control of the House — but her appeal to the American president’s vanity was met with an ornery outburst.

Trump berated May for Great Britain not doing enough in his assessment to contain Iran. He questioned her over Brexit and complained about the trade deals he sees as unfair with European countries. May has endured Trump’s churlish temper before, but still her aides were shaken by his especially foul mood, according to U.S. and European officials briefed on the conversation.

For Trump, that testy call set the tone for five days of fury — evident in Trump’s splenetic tweets and described in interviews with 14 senior administration officials, outside Trump confidants and foreign diplomats, many of whom requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
...
During Sunday’s flight to Washington from Paris, aides filed into the president’s private cabin to lobby him against the leading contender to replace Kelly, Nick Ayers, who is currently Vice President Pence’s chief of staff. These aides told Trump that appointing Ayers would lower staff morale and perhaps trigger an exodus. But the president continues to praise Ayers, who also enjoys the support of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, according to multiple White House officials.
...
Trump told aides he thought he looked “terrible” and blamed his chief of staff’s office, and Fuentes in particular, for not counseling him that skipping the cemetery visit would be a public-relations nightmare.
posted by zachlipton at 5:19 PM on November 13 [23 favorites]


Acting ICE director Thomas Homan, without any sense of irony, tells Tucker Carlson that he objects to people comparing ICE to Nazis because they "are simply enforcing laws enacted by Congress."

This is the guy Politico reports Trump wants to replace Kirstjen Nielsen: Trump Considers Tough-Talking Former Ice Director For DHS Chief—Trump likes Thomas Homan's frequent and often fiery appearances on cable news defending the White House's immigration policies.

Consider Homan's Fox appearance to be his job interview.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:19 PM on November 13 [14 favorites]


Trump told aides he thought he looked “terrible” and blamed his chief of staff’s office, and Fuentes in particular, for not counseling him that skipping the cemetery visit would be a public-relations nightmare.

How truly fucking stupid do you have to be to not realize that skipping the cemetery visiting portion of the 100th anniversary ceremonies for the end of the first world war is not a cute look for anyone?!

I swear to god every time I think I'm numb to the complete and utter shambling horseshit golem that is Trump, he up and does something that makes me facepalm so hard I see stars
posted by palomar at 5:27 PM on November 13 [97 favorites]


Five days of fury: Inside Trump’s Paris temper, election woes and staff upheaval

Another access-journalism special from Trump Whisperer Philip Rucker. At least some Trump insiders are giving us fair warning:
“He was frustrated with the trip. And he’s itching to make some changes,” said one senior White House official. “This is a week where things could get really dicey.”[...]

The senior White House official, who speaks to the president regularly, said Trump has been grousing lately about getting rid of Kelly. “But he’s done this three or four times before,” this person said. “Nothing is ever real until he sends the tweet.” [emphasis added, because this is the unreal situation Trump's dragged the whole nation into]
And in the continued fallout from Trump's diplomatic disaster in Paris, today Merkel declared, “We should work on the vision to one day create a true European army.” and “The times that we could rely on others without reservation are over. That means we Europeans have to take our destiny into our own hands if we want to survive as a community.” (Politico.EU)
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:28 PM on November 13 [7 favorites]


Meanwhile, some expert, expert trolling by Senator Turtle.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, Fox News Op Ed: Will Dems work with us, or simply put partisan politics ahead of the country?

[Real] - but save yourself the click and the blood pressure spike.
posted by RedOrGreen at 5:29 PM on November 13 [12 favorites]




In response to Mitch McConnell’s real tweet, I hope Joyce White Vance is heard: Merrick. Garland. (Also Real)
posted by Silverstone at 5:54 PM on November 13 [15 favorites]




Mitch McConnell you have labored long to restart the American civil war. You are a confederate and an enemy war fighter. NO QUARTER
posted by maniabug at 5:57 PM on November 13 [24 favorites]


@mikelieman: 1:18-cv-02610 CABLE NEWS NETWORK, INC. et al v. TRUMP et al
Anyone got a PACER account they don't mind using?

Found it.

1:18-cv-02610 CABLE NEWS NETWORK, INC. et al v. TRUMP et al full complaint
Tip: High profile cases like this will always show up on Free Law Project via RECAP, so no PACER login needed. Here's the docket; free PDFs available for many docket entries besides the complaint:

https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/8169022/cable-news-network-inc-v-trump/
posted by zakur at 5:58 PM on November 13 [17 favorites]


As I've touched on before: To us and almost anybody else who follows politics with any seriousness, what McConnell says is trolling. But to middle America, it simply works, exactly as it appears on its face. Even if it doesn't win them over to the cause of outright hating Democrats, it activates their frustration over ~gridlock~.

That one time he expressed a determination to make Obama a "one-term president"? He's basically never broken character since (which is why we have to go back that far for a quote like it). His objection to Garland was framed in words that sounded "reasonable". Yes, he is Dracula, but he always keeps his mouth clean of the blood. That's precisely why the base of the GOP tends to consider him a traitor hardly any better than McCain -- why, what sorry excuse for a leopard is he, without any bits of face on his teeth? Why doesn't he relish the enemy's screams?

So... just something to bear in mind when we are in a mood to pick apart the seemingly-conciliatory "Let's work together" words from leaders on our own side. By all means, media and news figures definitely should speak in total candor about what's really going on in this country. But politics is a different game with different rules. The mere fact that McConnell says some nice words doesn't mean Republicans are, in fact, surrendering the board -- and this can be extrapolated to politicians as a set.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:09 PM on November 13 [18 favorites]


It really is worth reading the filing in the CNN vs Trump case, mentioned and linked above: https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.dcd.201611/gov.uscourts.dcd.201611.2.0_1.pdf

It's not the complicated stuff as in all the other cases about tax law or even the payments to women, this is totally flat and simple for people to understand, and it's very likely for CNN to win quickly and easily, which will lead us to yet another constitutional showdown when the White House refuses to reinstate Acosta's credentials.

I'm not sure whether this is good or bad, demonstrating so clearly and uncontroversially that the Executive believes itself above the law.
posted by odinsdream at 6:17 PM on November 13 [12 favorites]


Courthouse News, Ninth Circuit Declines Second Look at Kids’ Immigration Fight
Toddlers will continue representing themselves in immigration court in the wake of a Ninth Circuit panel’s refusal Tuesday to revisit dismissal of a class action that claimed kids should have court-appointed attorneys in immigration proceedings – a refusal that drew a blistering dissent from five circuit judges.
...
The ACLU, meanwhile, cited its deposition of Immigration Judge Jack Weil, who implied toddlers can master immigration law after all.

“I’ve taught immigration law literally to 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds,” Weil said in his deposition. “It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of patience. They get it.”
...
Berzon outlined the obstacles kids face in trying to navigate arcane immigration law in a language they often do not understand. She cited one case where lawyers described the three-year-old they represented crawling on the table during his removal hearing.

“Absurdly,” Berzon wrote, “the only thing atypical about that case was that the child had a lawyer.”
posted by zachlipton at 6:22 PM on November 13 [28 favorites]


Will Dems work with us, or simply put partisan politics ahead of the country?

Mitch McConnell, October 2010: "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

Biden: McConnell decided to deny us cooperation before we took office
Biden says that during the transition, he was warned not to expect any cooperation on many votes. “I spoke to seven different Republican Senators, who said, ‘Joe, I’m not going to be able to help you on anything,’ he recalls. His informants said McConnell had demanded unified resistance. “The way it was characterized to me was: ‘For the next two years, we can’t let you succeed in anything. That’s our ticket to coming back,’” Biden says.
The Party of No: New Details on the GOP Plot to Obstruct Obama
TIME just published “The Party of No,” an article adapted from my new book, The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era. It reveals some of my reporting on the Republican plot to obstruct President Obama before he even took office, including secret meetings led by House GOP whip Eric Cantor (in December 2008) and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (in early January 2009) in which they laid out their daring (though cynical and political) no-honeymoon strategy of all-out resistance to a popular President-elect during an economic emergency. “If he was for it,” former Ohio Senator George Voinovich explained, “we had to be against it.”
Strict Obstructionist
...from the outset, McConnell blocked or frustrated just about everything the administration tried to do, including the government’s distribution of TARP funds, in January 2009, just three months after McConnell voted to authorize them.
...
McConnell initially had to struggle for purchase. But in February, he settled on opposing Obama’s plan to close the terrorist-detention center at Guantánamo Bay...“Winning on Guantánamo,” the senator told me, “sent a message to all of us that Obama was not bulletproof.” McConnell deployed the same daily barrage against financial reform (16 floor speeches) and health care (105 floor speeches). Along with the endless delays, this exacted a heavy toll on Democratic approval ratings. Obama could not evolve into a post-partisan leader, because McConnell wouldn’t let him.
...
Beyond this lies the fundamental question of whether a party has any responsibility to address society’s problems in good faith. So far, Mc­Con­nell’s legacy as Republican leader is to have taken his caucus further than anyone else toward the proposition that it doesn’t. But the public is not likely to notice that anytime soon.
Also: “He has been described as having the ‘natural charisma of an oyster.’”
posted by kirkaracha at 6:24 PM on November 13 [61 favorites]


I just haven't seen any basis besides total speculation for the idea that some kind of pending legal action involving them has them spooked. Or did I miss something?

Based on litigation experience: if a party is ordered to preserve their Twitter history in anticipation of discovery, that party will usually need to limit who has access to the account to ensure its preservation. So that could mean that their social media staff would be locked out, and no new posts would appear for awhile. It is speculative, of course, but could explain a Twitter silence. Especially if Twitter history (maybe DMs?) is relevant in a way that Facebook and other communication avenues are not.
posted by Emera Gratia at 6:25 PM on November 13 [10 favorites]


More emboldened Nazis:
Members of a neo-Nazi group formed in the wake of the deadly Charlottesville rally outed themselves as perpetrating hate crimes and sharing bomb manuals in leaked Discord chat logs.
Unicorn Riot, a journalism collective that tracks hate groups, reported that members of the National Socialist Legion discussed harassing Jews who attended the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh months before the October massacre at the temple.
posted by growabrain at 6:27 PM on November 13 [24 favorites]


Especially if Twitter history (maybe DMs?) is relevant in a way that Facebook and other communication avenues are not.

FOX News interacting with the GRU from the official twitter account would be something.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:37 PM on November 13 [8 favorites]


I'd be curious to know whether anyone who has familiarity with litigation that has touched on twitter discovery knows how Twitter would handle a subpoena for user's information.

Assuming Twitter facilitates such discovery, which surely it has in some known case, right?, assuming they have facilitated that: what did it look like from the end-user perspective? Was it hidden totally, or did they take the accounts offline while supplying the discovery request?
posted by odinsdream at 6:42 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]


To further surmise: George Papadopolous, after reaching the Bargaining stage of grief as occasioned by his signing of a plea deal, has unfortunately backslid back into Denial...

What lesson would you take away from being sentenced a mere 14 days for lying to the F.B.I about meeting with Russian agents to fix the presidential election? Why cooperate instead of receiving a sentence that will practically vindicates you?
posted by xammerboy at 6:47 PM on November 13 [2 favorites]




AP DoJ reporter Eric Tucker: Attorneys for George Papadopoulos have filed motion to withdraw from the case.

The judge has already gotten back to them and OK'ed this.

Marcy Wheeler: "Randolph Moss didn't think very long or hard about whether Pap's lawyers should be freed from any further obligation of representing him. Maybe he regrets falling for Pap's remorse schtick?" (pic)

I hope Judge Moss feels like a total schmuck after sentencing Papadopoulos so leniently.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:05 PM on November 13 [4 favorites]


So, I wonder about Melania Trump's security clearance. Maybe the seating problem has to do with her hearing things of a national security nature, she may not hear. Remember Nancy Reagan and her astrologer were key in running the US for a while. There has to be more to this story than personality clash.
posted by Oyéah at 7:19 PM on November 13 [3 favorites]


In today’s edition of “Can You Imagine?”, can you imagine if any Democratic First Lady in history had made an official announcement that a member of the President’s Administration no longer deserved to serve? Clinton was pilloried when it was merely suspected she had opposed her husband’s Administration officials.

Can you imagine what Michelle Obama would have been called by millions of conservatives, had she ever done anything like that?
posted by darkstar at 7:36 PM on November 13 [24 favorites]


What lesson would you take away from being sentenced a mere 14 days for lying to the F.B.I about meeting with Russian agents to fix the presidential election? Why cooperate instead of receiving a sentence that will practically vindicates you?

With the craziness inherent in this issue, I had to go reread the Special Counsel's filings on GPap.

And, according to the plea agreement, sentencing would have been delayed until after he's cooperated, to make sure he would fulfill his commitments first. Mueller's not going to fall for One Secret Trick that the gold-fringed flag crowd relies on.

I really can't figure out what he's up to, which is fine. I'm rational, he isn't. There's no shame in not understanding irrational people's motivation.
posted by mikelieman at 7:40 PM on November 13 [8 favorites]


Please enjoy this FOX news graphic. Nice happy smiling brown faces offering free healthcare, so scary!
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:44 PM on November 13 [19 favorites]


To demonstrate how irrelevant The Onion's satire had become in the last 2 years, here are some headlines from today's Politics:

* Trump Delivers Touching Tribute To Fallen Heroes Of WWE

* Steve King Vehemently Denies Comparing Immigrants To People

* Chris Collins Thanks Supporters With Can't-Miss Tip On Biotech Stock

* Sessions: ‘I Am Proud To Have Served White America’

* Hillary Launches Campaign To Raise $100 Million Or Else She’ll Run For President

* Trump Unveils Reelection Campaign Plan To Drive Bus Into Crowds Across Country

* Georgia Election Worker Assures Black Man Ballot Scanner Supposed To Sound Like Shredder
posted by growabrain at 7:52 PM on November 13 [24 favorites]


HuffPost, Fuller, Nancy Pelosi’s Democratic Foes Think They Have The Votes To Block Her
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) told reporters Tuesday night that he was “100 percent” confident there were enough votes to block Pelosi ― more than 20 ― during a speaker floor vote. He said the anti-Pelosi members planned to release a letter demonstrating to Pelosi that she doesn’t have the votes, at which point they expect other Democrats to step up and run for the speaker position.

Moulton said the members, led by less than a dozen existing Representatives and some incoming Democrats who have said they won’t support Pelosi, are figuring out when to release the letter ― “we’re going to see what makes the most sense” ― but they plan to do it before the caucus votes for its leaders behind closed doors at the end of November.
...
It’s easy to see how Pelosi’s vote problem isn’t fake. But it’s also difficult to see who would be speaker if it’s not her.
Roll Call, Lindsey McPherson, Anti-Pelosi Democrats Claim They Have Numbers to Block Her in Speaker Floor Vote
The plan is to send the letter before the Democratic Caucus holds its leadership elections on Nov. 28. Pelosi only needs a simple majority to win the caucus nomination for speaker, a threshold she is expected to easily meet, especially since no one is currently challenging her. But she’d need a majority of the entire chamber — 218, if everyone is present and voting — to prevail in a floor vote.

Some Democrats have called for raising the threshold for the caucus vote to 218 to align with the broader chamber rules. But Pelosi loyalists have pushed back — 14 of them wrote a letter Monday arguing against the “extraordinary” rule change.
I swear, if these folks tear down Pelosi without actually having an alternative candidate who can get anything resembling 218 votes, I will punch things.
posted by zachlipton at 8:31 PM on November 13 [64 favorites]


Federal Budget Deficit Is Exploding (Bloomberg)

The U.S. recorded a $100.5 billion budget deficit in October, an increase of about 60 percent from a year earlier, as spending grew twice as fast as revenue.

... A ballooning U.S. budget shortfall — fueled by tax cuts, spending hikes and an aging population — is driving the Treasury Department to raise its long-term debt issuance.


*clink* *clink* *clink*
Conservatiiiiives!
*clink* *clink* *clink*
Come out to plaaaAayy!
posted by petebest at 8:33 PM on November 13 [33 favorites]


Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) told reporters Tuesday night that he was “100 percent” confident there were enough votes to block Pelosi

It's worth noting that Moulton is a member of the pro-business New Democrat Coalition that describes itself as "moderate" and "pro-growth" and supporting a balanced budget.

Thanks, but no thanks.
posted by JackFlash at 8:51 PM on November 13 [30 favorites]


question how many members of the NDC are there in the house

question is the number of members of the NDC plus the number of republicans greater than or equal to 218
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:56 PM on November 13


The Democratic House Must Prioritize Protecting the 2020 Census: An inaccurate count disproportionately harms the young, the elderly, and people of color.
The Democratic Party has a long to-do list after eight years in the congressional minority. With a hostile White House and Republicans holding a bitterly divided Senate, the upcoming session of Congress has little potential to produce legislation reflecting Democratic priorities.

Given this situation, Democrats have signaled that the House is eager to aggressively investigate the Trump administration. A less sexy but far more important priority should be to use the power of House committees to protect the 2020 US Census. A politically manipulated, inaccurate Census exacerbates inequality, skews the distribution of federal funds, and ensures another decade of distorted political representation. In almost every instance, Census inaccuracies disproportionately impact the young, the elderly, and people of color.
posted by homunculus at 8:57 PM on November 13 [21 favorites]


I swear, if these folks tear down Pelosi without actually having an alternative candidate who can get anything resembling 218 votes, I will punch things.

Adam Schiff on MTP re Pelosi for Speaker:
We need the strongest general that we have; we need the best tactician, we need the best organizer... and that's her. There's no one else, honestly, that comes close.
posted by Jpfed at 9:06 PM on November 13 [48 favorites]


I’m pretty sure the only alternative candidate is Tim “I’m a white guy from Ohio so I should be President despite having zero actual accomplishments” Ryan.

I’m all for new blood in the leadership, Pelosi isn’t a Queen, but there really isn’t another viable Speaker and bringing her down without a real backup plan just because you want to get on FOX News in Youngstown Ohio is idiotic...and also the most Democrat thing ever.

I’m happy we won over the alternative, but this coalition of a ton of New Democrat and Blue Dogs coming back into power after they were nearly wiped out of the party combined with the trend of the base towards the hard left is going to be very, very rocky, when what we need is laser focus on messaging and investigations.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:06 PM on November 13 [12 favorites]


I swear, if these folks tear down Pelosi without actually having an alternative candidate who can get anything resembling 218 votes, I will punch things.

Are there any names being seriously floated, aside from Steny Hoyer, who somehow manages to have all of Pelosi's downsides (thoroughly establishment, relatively conservative, "bipartisan," nearly 80 years old, moderate-at-best, track record of squelching more progressive up-and-comers) and literally none of her upsides (good at cat-herding, vote-wrangling, and arm-twisting)? Because if we end up with fucking Hoyer at the end of all this...
posted by halation at 9:08 PM on November 13 [6 favorites]


Are there any names being seriously floated

Tim Ryan. This is all a Tim Ryan insurgency to boost his 2020 profile.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:09 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]


Texas AG Ken Paxton has been named as the chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association. That's an interesting choice, since he was indicted in state court for felony securities fraud in 2015, and is awaiting trial (he also stole a $1,000 pen once, which isn't really the point, but I'm going to mention it anyway).

The new vice-chair, Indiana AG Curtis Hill, is breathing easy, as he was recently informed by a special prosecutor that he would not face charges for allegedly groping a fellow legislator and several aides at a capital city bar.

The finest legal minds the Republican Party has to offer, everyone.
posted by zachlipton at 9:11 PM on November 13 [17 favorites]


There's no one else, honestly, that comes close.

This violates the Bus Rule, and something they should work on. A deeper bench would be really helpful if Nance really is a linchpin. I mean seriously, bring some sidekicks up.
posted by rhizome at 9:21 PM on November 13 [3 favorites]


They ABSOLUTELY need to work on the bus factor. There ABSOLUTELY needs to be a deeper bench. BUT the solution to the bus rule isn't to locate the most integral person in your organization and purposefully run a bus over them.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:23 PM on November 13 [67 favorites]


It’s also possible that, even if they trained up a deep bench of good performers, Pelosi would still be head and shoulders above the rest, due to her temperament, experience, and other factors.

She didn’t get to where she is at the top of the national political game just by being mentored/trained well. She has all that, plus an innate gift that makes her extraordinarily skilled at doing this job.

Even if the bus factor were addressed by good organizational development, Schiff’s statement that “nobody comes close” to Pelosi might well still be true.
posted by darkstar at 9:29 PM on November 13 [10 favorites]


For better or for worse, Joe Crowley was supposed to be the next guy up, and he got hit by the AOC bus. The uncertainty in leadership right now is evidence of, and the consequence to, progressive success. This is what winning primaries looks like. I think that's good, and I'm not trading AOC back for fucking Joe Crowley and an easier leadership election. It doesn't mean it's easy in the moment. This is akin to what happened when Dave Brat knocked off Eric Cantor, only then the fate of the republic wasn't in the balance because we had Obama.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:30 PM on November 13 [14 favorites]




Poop train previously.
posted by peeedro at 9:49 PM on November 13 [2 favorites]


An optimistic view: The political pendulum is swinging back from conservative control in so many ways
Other writers have been pondering the motion of our historic pendulum, and each of us sees a different meaning in the moment. I believe we are at the end of an era, and today’s midterm elections will begin a reversal. I’d even use the word redemption for where we are headed next.
posted by homunculus at 10:15 PM on November 13 [3 favorites]


the problem with “pendulum theory” is that for the last half-century or more, every swing to the right goes farther, and every swing to the left barely makes it back to the middle.

if this election is the start of a pendulum correction to the left, i fear that the next rightward backlash will knock the clock clear off the mantelpiece and into the fireplace
posted by murphy slaw at 10:27 PM on November 13 [70 favorites]


It's punctuated equilibrium. The sessile spineless priapulid worms that have been dominant are about to be replaced with a dazzling diversity of trilobites and other arthropods that can respect a woman's right to choose and condemn white nationalism.
posted by XMLicious at 10:44 PM on November 13 [25 favorites]


Good god. Of COURSE Trump uses twitter for keeping in touch with his goons. What else would he use? How long has Twitter been subpoenaed (and watched closely by Mueller) is the real question. They just got told on friday. And now Trump has to dance in the spotlight or admit the whole game is up...like a puppet.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:01 PM on November 13 [7 favorites]


I'd be curious to know whether anyone who has familiarity with litigation that has touched on twitter discovery knows how Twitter would handle a subpoena for user's information.

Republicans are the party of elderly, white, techno-phobic dudes. I mean, Trump isn't comfortable with email. Is it too much to hope for, that they are so bad with technology that they think freezing or deleting their twitter accounts this week will keep Mueller from seeing their DMs over the past 4 years?
posted by msalt at 11:29 PM on November 13 [3 favorites]


What makes anybody think that there's any Twitter-related subpoena? The working theory now is that Trump was secretly DMing the main @FoxNews twitter account to talk to people? And there's a secret subpoena for that? Because what? I know we're all antsy for the indictment fairy, but this just seems like layers and layers of wishful thinking being extrapolated from no data.
posted by zachlipton at 11:40 PM on November 13 [25 favorites]


We're at that point in a Trump disaster where Trumpland insiders are cathartically leaking to any vaguely sympathetic journalist who'll listen.

Politico: Staff Anger Spills Over at White House—A drumbeat of exits is mixing with Trump’s anger after the midterms and a much-criticized trip to Europe.
Bottled-up hostility in President Donald Trump’s administration flowed to the surface Tuesday during a remarkable 12-hour period following an awkward midterm détente and tense trip to Paris over which the president is still seething.

“It’s like an episode of ‘Maury,’” one former Trump aide observed to POLITICO as the spectacle unfolded. “The only thing that’s missing is a paternity test.”[…]

White House aides and advisers have long anticipated an internal staff reckoning once the uneasy truce broke and the dust settled after the elections. But some conceded that the drumbeat of exits, the threat of subpoenas from the Russia probe and anticipated investigations by a newly empowered Democratic House — along with a raft of negative media attention in recent days — were taking a heavy toll on not only the president, but also on the aides and advisers' thinning ranks.[…]

“The Trump administration has been so consistently off the rails that days like today just blend into everything else,” another former White House official concluded. “That in and of itself may be the biggest indictment of all.”
Even here on the megathread, Larry Kudlow's moronic, backbiting presser yesterday didn't rate a mention amid the chaos.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:55 AM on November 14 [6 favorites]


What makes anybody think that there's any Twitter-related subpoena? The working theory now is that Trump was secretly DMing the main @FoxNews twitter account to talk to people? And there's a secret subpoena for that? Because what? I know we're all antsy for the indictment fairy, but this just seems like layers and layers of wishful thinking being extrapolated from no data.

I think people see indictments coming & the unexplained Twitter behavior & just put them together. It's not unreasonable given the abject stupidity we've come to expect from this lot. But I haven't seen any direct evidence in favor of it either so it's just supposition at this point.
posted by scalefree at 2:05 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


The U.S. recorded a $100.5 billion budget deficit in October, an increase of about 60 percent from a year earlier, as spending grew twice as fast as revenue.

The stunned talent agent manages to ask, "That's one hell of an act. What do you call it?"

"The Tea Party."

For a group that came into power chanting about the deficit, this is quite the legacy.
posted by zachlipton at 2:14 AM on November 14 [74 favorites]


Worst part: Trump's base won't give a single shit. "Drain the swamp" and "Lock her up" are way more fun to say than "Budget def-blah-blah" or whatever, and anyhow you only look at that numbers stuff when the president's a Democrat.
posted by Rykey at 2:58 AM on November 14 [9 favorites]


They never cared about the deficit, it was always a canard to attack the welfare state and blame the housing crisis on minorities. The end goals were always massive tax cuts paid for, if at all, by ending Social Security and Medicare. They got half, and we’re damn lucky they hated Obama more than they actually wanted a “Grand bargain” to do the other half, because he tried for years to give it to them and they refused to say yes.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:37 AM on November 14 [32 favorites]


over at the Post, dana millbank has some scathing words about whitaker’s lack of qualifications which reveals some details i had not seen elsewhere:
During the current U.S. attorney general’s time on the company’s advisory board, from 2014 onward, World Patent Marketing:

● Claimed that “DNA evidence collected in 2013 proves that Bigfoot does exist,” had a website selling Bigfoot paraphernalia and planned a celebrity event called “You Have Been Squatched!”

● Asserted that “time travel” could be “possible, perhaps within the next decade” and tried to raise money using bitcoin for time-travel research by one of Whitaker’s fellow board members. The company suggested users might “relive moments from your past” or “visit your future.”

On his Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire in 2003, when he was tapped to be a U.S. attorney, he was asked to list the “most significant cases” he litigated. The top two:

“Personal injury claim resulting from driver of automobile driving over Mr. Harkness’ leg.”

“Breach of Contract and Negligence Claim arising out of dry cleaning performed by Lenox Cleaners that operated out of a Hy-Vee store in Creston, Iowa.”

So his experience with World Patent Marketing really comes in handy. As The Post’s Carol D. Leonnig and Rosalind S. Helderman reported, Whitaker wrote “a series of letters” on behalf of the company. The Justice Department said Whitaker has said “he was not aware of any fraudulent activity.”

If so, he certainly had to be aware of zany activity. A photo places him in the Florida offices where “there were always handsome, ‘well built’ guys coming and going,” according to an FTC filing, and which overlooked a “full nudity” strip club called Tootsie’s Cabaret. When the FTC searched the Florida offices, it found 115 prescriptions, “primarily for testosterone and syringes.”
posted by murphy slaw at 5:17 AM on November 14 [68 favorites]


Come on, how do you leave out the part about the Big Dick John?
posted by uncleozzy at 5:26 AM on November 14 [16 favorites]


i will leave matters of prurient interest to others, i am here to talk about bigfoot and dry cleaning
posted by murphy slaw at 5:36 AM on November 14 [106 favorites]


And a bigfoot pornography writer has now been elected to the House of Representatives. All of the pieces are coming together.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:41 AM on November 14 [19 favorites]


If this (ahem) culminates in Chuck Tingle being elected President in 2020, I won't complain.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:44 AM on November 14 [34 favorites]


According to the Wikipedia page for World Patent Marketing, last year someone named Brian Mast said he was put on the advisory board without his consent. So is the same excuse possibly available to Whitaker? Well, there's a quote on the same page from him that's a pretty unequivocal endorsement, specifically of the organization's ethics. And his actions imply a commitment extending even after the group's termination did them part...
"As a former US Attorney, I would only align myself with a first class organization. World Patent Marketing goes beyond making statements about doing business 'ethically' and translate those words into action." Following the shut down the other advisory board members returned fees they had received, however according to news reports, Whitaker did not respond to a request for fees to be returned. (cited to CNBC)
Like with his on-record criticism of Mueller, it may be correct to regard "Co-directed a big ol' Trump-style scam machine" not as some awful misstep on Whiter's part so much as an audition for his new role.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:47 AM on November 14 [6 favorites]


i will leave matters of prurient interest to others, i am here to talk about bigfoot and dry cleaning

and I'm all. out. of dry cleaning.

[The Tea Party] never cared about the deficit, it was always a canard to attack the welfare state and blame the housing crisis on minorities.

As I quipped in 2009, hey mock them if you want but it takes real commitment to opposing deficit spending for them to be out here for the 7th year in a row.

It was quite the coincidence that it only got to trouble levels at the same time as blackity black black! It was very convenient that somehow later it would turn out that Obama passed both stimulus packages, the first one even before GWB left office!
posted by phearlez at 6:22 AM on November 14 [3 favorites]


I love that The Weekly Standard regularly trashes the occupant of the Oval Office!

The Vaporware Presidency
The term vaporware gained common usage in tech circles in the early 1980s. "Vaporware" refers to a piece of software that is announced long before it actually exists. Coined by a disgruntled Microsoft engineer complaining about the company's Xenix operating system, vaporware carried an additional meaning: The reason the nonexistent software was announced so prematurely was to act as an anti-competitive club against other potential entrants to the market. Sometimes the company announcing its vaporware knew it couldn’t deliver the product. Sometimes it didn’t even intend to deliver it.

Today, when tech people talk about vaporware, they generally mean incompetence. But the roots of the term encompass malice, too.


Whatever its motivations, the Trump presidency has been bloated with vaporware. And much of it came pre-installed.
posted by jgirl at 6:23 AM on November 14 [16 favorites]


Today, when tech people talk about vaporware, they generally mean incompetence.

I'm all for slagging the Trump admin for incompetence but in 25 years in the field that's not what I've ever heard anyone meant when it came to vaporware. Maybe sometimes it might include incompetence when it comes to companies failing to actually bring things to market, but I'd assert the core matter is one of empty promises, as in this thing being promised doesn't exist. Whether it will or won't at some future point isn't usually core to the criticism. It's a sibling to FUD - fear, uncertainty, doubt - an attempt to impact people's actions/decisions now based on some hypothetical future.

No, I am not secretly Bob Cringely.
posted by phearlez at 6:29 AM on November 14 [21 favorites]


TPM: Neo-Nazi Brothers Tied to Pittsburgh Massacre
Occasionally you’ll find a news story which lays out a series of stunning facts but doesn’t quite add them up. The Washington Post published just such a story this afternoon about two brothers named Jeffrey Clark, Jr. and Edward Clark, both of whom were active in “alt-right” circles and followers of Richard Spencer. Jeffrey was arraigned today on weapons charges in DC. Edward is dead. Their story points to the possibility that Roberts Bowers synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh may not have ended with him.

HuffPo: DC Neo-Nazi Who Called Pittsburgh Murders A ‘Dry Run’ Arrested; Has Deep Ties To 'Alt Right'
In May 2017, the Clark brothers teamed up with far-right “Pizzagate” propagandist Jack Posobiec, who was then the D.C. bureau chief for the far-right website Rebel Media, to shoot footage for a film Posobiec was working on about Seth Rich, the Democratic National Committee staffer whose murder near the Clarks’ home in Bloomingdale has spawned numerous far-right conspiracy theories.
posted by PenDevil at 6:32 AM on November 14 [22 favorites]


Continuing the derail, my perspective as a software engineer is that "vaporware" is what happens when the people selling the software are allowed to make up dates and features without having them checked by the people actually responsible for implementing the software.

This ties directly back to Trump, whose only skill is in selling a product and who has never bothered listening to anyone else -- let alone anyone who might be responsible for implementing the product he's selling.
posted by Slothrup at 6:35 AM on November 14 [13 favorites]


Welp, people at the Weekly Standard are ... not tech-savvy.
posted by jgirl at 6:48 AM on November 14 [4 favorites]


It's just odd they had it all right in the first grafs but then diverted into this unsupported assertion of what people supposedly mean 'today.'
posted by phearlez at 6:55 AM on November 14 [1 favorite]


If the right wing hack community had maintained communication links with tech people, we'd be living in a very different world today.
posted by ocschwar at 7:02 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


In the last few weeks, we've watched Republicans claim that counting all the votes for an election is fraud and that they are the party who wants to ensure healthcare coverage. There's something more going on here than the usual hypocrisy. They suggest Republicans can claim anything and that half the country will accept it as true or plausible. Masha Gessen points to similar behavior in Russia as cultural totalitarianism.
posted by xammerboy at 7:05 AM on November 14 [37 favorites]


I hope somebody is there to like every day whisper to Trump, "Sir, you could just flee the country."
posted by angrycat at 7:06 AM on November 14 [30 favorites]


Michigan's New Dem Governor Is Already Flooding Her Administration With Corporate Interests - Libby Watson, Splinter

tl;dr: Democrat Gretchen Whitmer's father was CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan from 1988 to 2006. His replacement, Dan Loepp, did a lot of heavy lifting for her campaign (through encouraging employee contributions), and was appointed to her transition team.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:08 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


Oh, Splinter. The Town Hall/Daily Caller/etc. of the left. Never stop whining, Splinter.

Maybe they ought to give the newly elected Democratic governor a chance first, and thank their stars that Schuette wasn't elected.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:13 AM on November 14 [25 favorites]


P.S. so as not to abuse the edit window: Splinter, and its Cool Girls Watson and Krueger, seem to have a special hate for women Democrats. Krueger authored a hit piece on Kirsten Gillibrand last year. And Splinter in general purged its comment section a few weeks back to allow for more sycophants and less criticism. I really, really hate Splinter. They are NOT helping.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:16 AM on November 14 [25 favorites]


I really, really hate Splinter. They are NOT helping.

Man, if what Splinter is doing isn't helping imagine how unhelpful a Democratic governor opposing single-payer will be
posted by edeezy at 7:22 AM on November 14 [3 favorites]


[We have a small soundproof booth where folks can go if they want to fight about corporate dems vs lefty etc. Been there, done that, soundproof booth.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:24 AM on November 14 [30 favorites]


NYT book critic Jennifer Senior: Now, however, I’m seriously reconsidering my mostly kind review of “Conscience of a Conservative” by Senator Jeff Flake, the Republican from Arizona, whose successor, Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat, was finally announced last night.
...
looking back on it, it didn’t. Jeff Flake’s book couldn’t even convince Jeff Flake. As of this writing, he has voted with Trump 84 percent of the time.


The so-called "liberal media" -- especially that subset on a Diogenes-like search for a "serious, honest conservative" -- would do well to consider that just maybe things conservatives say are not said in good faith.
posted by Gelatin at 7:27 AM on November 14 [12 favorites]


Politico: Trump Meddles In McCarthy-Jordan Leadership Brawl
Trump has privately urged the House majority leader to strike a deal with the conservative Freedom Caucus founder, who is challenging McCarthy for the minority leader post next Congress, multiple lawmakers and aides said. It remains unclear what exactly the deal would entail.[...]

The discussions between the president and McCarthy about Jordan, which took place last week, set off a round of speculation among lawmakers inside the Capitol that Trump may try to push Jordan to become the top Republican lawmaker on the House Judiciary Committee, a panel expected to launch an array of Democratic investigations against the president — and possibly even an impeachment probe.

“Jim Jordan will be the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee,” top Trump ally Cory Lewandowski predicted Tuesday evening on MSNBC’s Hardball.

Jordan wants that position, according to GOP lawmakers and aides. And Trump thinks Jordan would be a ferocious defender.[...]

Some Republicans have suggested there is a way to make all parties happy. Jordan is next in line on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, where Democrats are also readying a series of investigations into Trump and his administration. Jordan, who wanted the position in previous years, could be tapped to be the top GOP member on the committee, the Republicans say.
And why does Trump care so much about the Judiciary Committee besides the obvious issue of impeachment? NYMag suggests that rather than impeachment, Trump's biggest existential threat is campaigning in 2020 under the shadow of legal, even criminal exposure on numerous fronts:
The breadth of Trump’s legal exposure exceeds that of any president in American history. It is so vast that it is hard to comprehend. Some, and possibly all, of the following appear to have colluded with Russia on behalf of the Trump campaign: Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., and Michael Cohen. Trump has been doing business with the criminal underworld in Russia and elsewhere for years, the secrets of which may be revealed by Mueller, or by House Democrats obtaining his tax returns. Federal prosecutors are investigating whether he violated campaign-finance laws by directing hush money to various mistresses. The state of New York is investigating the Trump Foundation for alleged misappropriation of funds and the Trump Organization for decades-long tax fraud. He is being sued for violating the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause. He is also being sued for fraud.

And this is just the information we know so far, which has come out despite a Congress dedicated to protecting him from investigation, a benefit he will enjoy for only a few more weeks.[...]

The already-unpopular president is looking at two years of perp walks, incriminating testimony and — at best! — a series of suspicious presidential pardons. He barely managed to win the presidency as a brash, controversial novelty. He will have to win it a second time as a known crook.
And Trump won't be able to steal Nixon's "I am not a crook" slogan unless he has the GOP leadership firmly on his side.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:54 AM on November 14 [18 favorites]


The so-called "liberal media" -- especially that subset on a Diogenes-like search for a "serious, honest conservative" -- would do well to consider that just maybe things conservatives say are not said in good faith.

We are so far past that, though. We're deep into willful, if not gleeful, abandonment of principles. Trump requires Murdoch to exist. The "liberal" media must be x% Murdoch to make Trump an administration. Blame the executives, the editors, the CFO's, whatever - it's where we are with NYT, NPR, CNN, etc. So. Far. Down.

Hell, they barely hint at using the word "lie", and we want SO much to believe it's finally turning. It's a fact that bemused both-sides bullshit got us here, despite all the screaming from our side to cut it out. Then 11/9 happened, and, well all their careless fooling around cost us bigly. Instead of about-facing, as common sense would dictate, they mumbled and normalized, and worked hard to pretend they didn't know what happened.

And now it's all ... this.
posted by petebest at 7:56 AM on November 14 [8 favorites]


The President of Fox News has issued a statement supporting CNN in their suit to have Jim Acosta's press pass restored - even going so far as to say that they intend to file an amicus brief. They do some quality bothsideserism ("we don't condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the President and the press") but surely Trump will sting a little at getting called out by his favorite propaganda outlet. [ twitter source ]
posted by marshmallow peep at 7:59 AM on November 14 [12 favorites]


For Trump, that testy call set the tone for five days of fury — evident in Trump’s splenetic tweets and described in interviews with 14 senior administration officials, outside Trump confidants and foreign diplomats, many of whom requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

I love when the media tweaks Mr. Fake News by mentioning how many of his own people are leaking to them.
posted by Gelatin at 7:59 AM on November 14 [12 favorites]


The breadth of Trump’s legal exposure exceeds that of any president in American history.

getting that feeling again (that i had several times during the campaign) that one of the main reasons that Trump ran for president is that hiding behind the argument that the sitting president cannot be indicted is one of the last remaining defenses he has against the vast cloud of chickens coming home to roost
posted by murphy slaw at 8:04 AM on November 14 [14 favorites]


In re Michigan: When we elect people, we have to keep pushing them. With rare exception, they're not going to be people who are fundamentally in line with progressive goals, and that means we have to push them. If they're doing something we don't like, call them up and remind them that this session of all sessions, they owe us.

In fact, my plan today is to call Nancy Pelosi's office and say that the Dems owe people like me who turned out to vote for them at the midterms and that with the exception of infrastructure and similar bills, I am completely opposed to "bipartisanship" with the GOP. They need to hear from us - if they understand that we're still mobilized and haven't just gone back to sleep, we have a lot more traction.

This isn't the same as flinging up our hands and saying "centrist Dems" or just saying "support the Democrats because that's all we can do"; it's saying, "we have a set of policy goals and we will push whoever we need to push to get them, regardless of party, regardless of whether we like the politician in general". It's not about name-calling or cynicism or partisanship; it's about getting what we need by using whatever levers we have.
posted by Frowner at 8:06 AM on November 14 [66 favorites]


Surprising no one, the DoJ Office of Legal Counsel has issued a memo [PDF] saying that the Whitaker appointment is legal; and, moreover, that the Office of Legal Counsel had been 'previously' consulted about that legality prior to the appointment.
posted by cjelli at 8:11 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


The President of Fox News has issued a statement supporting CNN in their suit to have Jim Acosta's press pass restored - even going so far as to say that they intend to file an amicus brief.

Well, obviously, right? I mean, if Trump et al. win against CNN here, then the next time we have a Democratic President, Fox is going to be banned from press events. Along with all the rest of the Murdoch media. They've got to see that coming.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 8:13 AM on November 14 [3 favorites]


Norm Eisen, Obama WH ethics czar, points out the DOJ/OLC memo on Whitaker is "honest about the absurd consequences of its position: Trump could fire ALL Senate confirmed principal officers & replace them with an entire cabinet of cronies of his choosing! That makes a mockery of 'advice & consent' & is unconstitutional."
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:20 AM on November 14 [18 favorites]


Per NBC, Chuck Schumer has been re-elected as Senate Minority Leader by acclamation. No challenger mentioned.

They're never going to learn anything.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:25 AM on November 14 [8 favorites]


Metafilter: They do some quality bothsideserism.
posted by Melismata at 8:25 AM on November 14 [1 favorite]


"Sir, you could just flee the country."

"I AM fleecing the country!"
posted by Stoneshop at 8:30 AM on November 14 [26 favorites]


Per NBC, Chuck Schumer has been re-elected as Senate Minority Leader by acclamation. No challenger mentioned.

They're never going to learn anything.


Surely now, in the midst of the ongoing election of the top Democratic legislative and party leaders, is not the time for internal squabbles or ideological debates.
posted by chortly at 8:42 AM on November 14 [5 favorites]


I’ve been expecting the various behind the scenes GOP constituencies to begin breaking away from Trump. The shellacking they just took in the House ought to have emboldened them as it demonstrated Trump’s weakness and reveals the risk of sticking with him through the end. Resistance to Trump inspired the best voter turnout in a midterm in 100 years. Orange County (!) went red to blue. Trump’s brand as a “winner” has become “loser.” Without “winning,” what does he have? He has no natural constituency in either party, no loyalty from any bloc, no bench to draw from for staff and advisers. If 2018 happens again in 2020, the GOP might be reduced to a regional party.

Plus, they got tax breaks, SCOTUS, lots of new Federal judges, a weakened regulatory apparatus, etc, so maybe now is a good time to consolidate gains and hedge against future losses.

I think we should start to see more breaks with Trump along the lines of Fox’s support of CNN/Acosta and the formation of the Federalist aligned legal group Conway is associated with, as they start to recognize Trump is more liability than asset.
posted by notyou at 8:44 AM on November 14 [5 favorites]


An aside while we wait for indictments - come on come on come on - is there an active Brexit thread where one could rubberneck? It seems like there's a crisis brewing...

NYT: Brexit Live Updates: U.K. Cabinet Deciding Fate of Draft Deal
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:44 AM on November 14 [5 favorites]


Serious question: when was the last a Senate caucus leader was toppled?
posted by Chrysostom at 8:49 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


The shellacking they just took in the House

Surely, an unvarnished shellacking will be the finish of Trump's cabinet!

Sorry. But this odd use of shellacking strikes me as hilarious.
posted by SPrintF at 8:50 AM on November 14 [43 favorites]


Shellac

2) NORTH AMERICAN
informal
(be shellacked)
defeat or beat (someone) decisively.
"they were shellacked in the 1982 election"
posted by Chrysostom at 8:52 AM on November 14 [10 favorites]




notyou: "I’ve been expecting the various behind the scenes GOP constituencies to begin breaking away from Trump."

So there's this new thing about conservative law-talking types against Trump, fwiw.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:54 AM on November 14 [6 favorites]


Serious question: when was the last a Senate caucus leader was toppled?
George Mitchell in 94?
posted by Harry Caul at 8:57 AM on November 14


Mitchell didn't run for re-election in '94. I'm asking when there was last a Senate leadership coup, which is what people are asking for with Schumer.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:01 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


What's so bleak about Schumer getting his clock cleaned by McConnell on every single thing is that it's not like he's a principled person who can't deal with an unprincipled opponent; he's also completely unprincipled, but bad at it.

I mean, it's kind of easy to win when you control the chamber, right? Chuck never been anything but a minority leader.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:09 AM on November 14 [3 favorites]


An aside while we wait for indictments - come on come on come on - is there an active Brexit thread where one could rubberneck? It seems like there's a crisis brewing...

I was wondering the same thing. Unfortunately I have deadlines looming and can’t put together a fresh post myself right now. I think this is the last one, almost a month ago.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 9:10 AM on November 14 [3 favorites]


I think we should start to see more breaks with Trump along the lines of Fox’s support of CNN/Acosta and the formation of the Federalist aligned legal group Conway is associated with, as they start to recognize Trump is more liability than asset.

Except that, without Trump, they don't have a base. They've got nowhere else to go. What Trump taught us is that there really isn't much of a constituency for principled "small-c" conservatism. The party Paul Ryan and the National Review folks thought they were in charge of never really existed. Otherwise being a never-Trumper wouldn't have been a death sentence for solid conservative credentialed folks like Jeff Flake.

The Republican base is just a bunch of bigoted authoritarians. They happily abandon core conservative principles so long as they get their ability to demonize and punish somebody else (Muslims, women, "Globalists," "SJWs," "Thugs," etc.)
posted by leotrotsky at 9:17 AM on November 14 [15 favorites]


Surely, an unvarnished shellacking will be the finish of Trump's cabinet!

But will it be enough to polish off the man himself?
posted by flabdablet at 9:22 AM on November 14 [19 favorites]


So there's this new thing about conservative law-talking types against Trump, fwiw.

Here's USC law prof Orin Kerr's twitter thread:
I am proud to be a founding member of a new group of conservative lawyers, Checks and Balances. @adamliptak tells our story in today's @nytimes.
NYT: Conservative Lawyers Say Trump Has Undermined the Rule of Law
On the eve of the Federalist Society’s annual convention, leading conservative lawyers criticized Trump’s attacks on the justice system…
Our mission statement is here:
https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/5096610/Checks-and-Balances.pdf
From the NYT article: "The group, called Checks and Balances, was organized by George T. Conway III, a conservative lawyer and the husband of President Trump’s counselor, Kellyanne Conway*. In recent opinion articles, Mr. Conway has criticized Mr. Trump’s statements on birthright citizenship and argued that his appointment of Matthew G. Whitaker to serve as acting attorney general violated the Constitution."

Other founding members include former PA governor and Dubya DHS secretarty Tom Ridge, former Dubya acting attorney general Peter Keisler, and Lori S. Meyer, a lawyer who is married to Eugene Meyer, the president of the Federalist Society.

We'll see if this makes the slightest bit of difference, though I suppose a crack in the GOP's institutional support for Trump is encouraging (even as Trump tried to shore up his 2020 demagogic credentials during the midterm campaign).

* n.b. @KellyannePolls still hasn't restored "Counselor to the President" to her Twitter bio since removing it last month.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:23 AM on November 14 [15 favorites]


leotrotsky: I mean, it's kind of easy to win when you control the chamber, right? Chuck never been anything but a minority leader.

The problem, as I understand, isn't the things that have passed legislatively and couldn't ever be stopped. It's the specific deals that Schumer made frequently, which seemed to give away quite a bit for a dubious return. They mostly involved agreements not to prevent fast-tracked confirmation of federal judges, which is one area where a Senate filibuster power remains. (Not at the Supreme level, but for lower courts. I think.)

At the time, the best defenses I could see were that Schumer was making a very canny strategic choice or at least doing the best with a bad hand. But I haven't seen anyone explain in the weeks/months that have followed exactly how his actions paid off, or was at least good enough in terms of opportunity cost.

In the end, he seems like the sort of politician who seeks to be personally liked and assumes this can translate into power/results for himself and his party, which may have been truer once upon a time. Whereas both Pelosi and McConnell are better at recognizing the low value of generic likability compared with determined caucus-wrangling. (I hate constantly comparing them as I have been, but it illustrates my perspective. Obviously their actual values are miles apart, and she's also never stooped so low as he has on the politics of procedural scumminess.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:26 AM on November 14 [5 favorites]


Where I live there are still 20,000+ votes to be counted that play into a close house race in district 21, where Valadao Rep. has been declared the winner, over TJ Cox Dem. The margin is 2000 votes or less. District 21 in California splits between at least three, maybe 4 counties. Fresno county was allegedly fully counted, but Kern County has a lot of votes piled up to account for. This also includes votes for or against McCarthy.
posted by Oyéah at 9:32 AM on November 14 [4 favorites]


I'm asking when there was last a Senate leadership coup, which is what people are asking for with Schumer.

Latest possible would be the Byrd to Mitchell switch; I don't know the inside baseball about that.

Congressional caucus leaders are pretty uniformly smart enough that you're not going to see an actual coup; you'll just see something like Gingrich resigning one step ahead of the boot.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:38 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


I think we should start to see more breaks with Trump along the lines of Fox’s support of CNN/Acosta and the formation of the Federalist aligned legal group Conway is associated with, as they start to recognize Trump is more liability than asset.

I agree, which is why I think impeachment isn't out of the question. There's less than two years until the next election, and the Republicans will be defending at least 20 seats in the Senate to the Democrats' ~11. Trump isn't going to get any more popular and is likely to get less popular as more and more dirt comes out. If it becomes widespread public opinion that Trump's committed crimes, voting to remove Trump from office might be the smart play for Republican senators.

In a couple of years it will shock you how few Republicans actually supported Trump.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:39 AM on November 14 [36 favorites]


What is infuriating to me is that Schumer skated to reappointment but Pelosi is the one everyone is pissing and moaning about, despite the fact that Pelosi is far more effective. And no-one can name a person who is fit to succeed her - all they can do is stomp their feet. Is this something of the Last Stand of the Centrist White Male in the House, especially given the fact that our incoming Reps are the most diverse bench we've ever seen?

I don't hate Schumer, and I know as minority leader, his hands are pretty much tied. But I love Pelosi. She's effective. We have health care thanks to her. Yes, she's older, and the Democrats really need to think about their bench and cultivating more younger folks, but sheesh. Misogyny is a hell of a drug.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:43 AM on November 14 [101 favorites]


Based on how long it took my immediate family to say "Invading Iraq was a bad idea!" they will have never supported Trump in .... 2028 or so.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:43 AM on November 14 [44 favorites]


They mostly involved agreements not to prevent fast-tracked confirmation of federal judges, which is one area where a Senate filibuster power remains. (Not at the Supreme level, but for lower courts. I think.)

This is incorrect -- there is no longer a filibuster available for any vote on confirming a nominee, either to the executive branch or the courts. When Harry Reid nuked the filibuster on confirmations he left it in place only for SCOTUS, and then McConnell scrapped that to push Gorsuch through.

Rather, Schumer's deals allowed the Trump nominees to move through the Senate faster and with less scrutiny -- meaning there was less chance to catch the ones who are so bad even Republicans might balk at turning over those rocks, and that they were able to confirm far more of them before the midterms than would have been possible with even token Democratic resistance. (That last would have mattered much more with a better Senate map, but that's hindsight)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:43 AM on November 14 [6 favorites]


Serious question: when was the last a Senate caucus leader was toppled?

I think the answer is 'never,' at least in the 20th century, depending on how you want to construe 'toppled.' The only thing I can think of is Byrd-Mitchell, which might count. Byrd was challenged for the leadership in 1984 and won; his decision to step down, in 1988, but remain in the Senate was probably not entirely voluntary, and was informed by lingering discontent among other members of the party: he might have been ousted if he hadn't left.
posted by cjelli at 9:47 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


On the GOP side, new leadership team:
Thune — whip
Barrasso — Conf. Chair
Blunt — Policy chair
Ernst — vice chair GOP conference
Young — NRSC
Wow, they managed to add a woman.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:52 AM on November 14 [5 favorites]


WaPo: Betsy DeVos set to bolster rights of accused in rewrite of sexual assault rules:
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is set to release a sweeping overhaul of how colleges and universities must handle allegations of sexual assault and harassment, giving new rights to the accused including the ability to cross-examine their accusers, people familiar with the matter said.

The proposal is set for release before Thanksgiving, possibly this week, and replaces less formal guidance issued by the Obama administration in 2011. The new rules would reduce liability for universities, tighten the definition of sexual harassment and allow schools to use a higher standard in evaluating claims of sexual harassment and assault.
posted by peeedro at 9:53 AM on November 14 [5 favorites]


They mostly involved agreements not to prevent fast-tracked confirmation of federal judges, which is one area where a Senate filibuster power remains. (Not at the Supreme level, but for lower courts. I think.)

Nope. No filibusters.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:53 AM on November 14 [1 favorite]




Schumer has made the critical mistake of believing in "gentlemen's agreements" multiple times, and has shown no reason to believe this will ever change. Nobody who approaches Mitch McConnell with any semblance of trust and honor should be in any position of power.

I've had my gripes with Pelosi, but she is very good at what she does, and more importantly, she's nowhere near as willing to blindly hand things over like Schumer has done. What she has been is the target of smear campaigns very similar to the ones that Hillary Clinton was subjected to - things we'd like to think we are immune from, but become so much of the background chatter that it spills over.

If what you object to are some of the more painfully frustrating things she has said, I agree with you, but I challenge you to look at the full context, and more importantly, the actions she has taken. There are legitimate gripes to be made about her being a voice of the party when it comes to things like her willingness to appear bipartisan, but her actions have always carried significantly more weight than her words.

And as many have said - there's nobody else who is a clear leader for this role. So flawed as she may be, she's still a great option, and unless someone steps forward who can command the role in anywhere near her ability to do so, she's the one for the job. I feel like we would have seen that person step forward by now if we were going to see it.

Schumer, on the other hand, has been a MUCH more painful "voice of the party" to listen to, but more importantly, he is way too willing to make concessions for nothing, and he still acts as if the GOP is acting in good faith. His actions have been needlessly weak - he is a chastized puppy who is willing to roll over at the slightest hint of a command, on the off chance that it keeps the opposition from saying mean things about him. And critically, there are absolutely people who could step into his role and be more effective than him. He needs to go.
posted by MysticMCJ at 10:00 AM on November 14 [53 favorites]


But also, critically, no one else is trying to usurp him.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:04 AM on November 14 [10 favorites]


Canada registers sixfold increase in US citizens seeking asylum in 2017 - Martin Patriquin, Guardian
Americans were the third largest group seeking asylum, spurred by fears they would be deported by the Trump administration.

In 2017, some 2,550 US citizens applied for asylum in Canada – an increase of more than sixfold from 2016 and the largest such number since at least 1994, according to data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Americans were the third largest contingent of asylum seekers in 2017, after Haitians and Nigerians. The vast majority are children born to Haitian parents, according to experts.

“Most of the Americans applying for refugee status are the children of non-residents,” says Stéphane Handfield, a Montreal-based immigration lawyer. “They are US citizens because they were born there, but they come across the border with their parents because they don’t want to be separated.”
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:05 AM on November 14 [10 favorites]


But also, critically, no one else is trying to usurp him.

Which is a problem. Currently the only insurgency in the Dems' organization ranks comes from the last remnants of the Blue Dog caucus, not the supposedly rebellious left.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:09 AM on November 14 [5 favorites]


Why wouldn’t the Dems want to keep Pelosi in power so that she can train a suitable successor? Is that not how it works?

Also, how much of this is “Dems in disarray” BS?
posted by gucci mane at 10:09 AM on November 14 [6 favorites]


Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is set to release a sweeping overhaul of how colleges and universities must handle allegations of sexual assault and harassment, giving new rights to the accused including the ability to cross-examine their accusers, people familiar with the matter said.

I used to be married to a university administrator, and he used to talk about university adjudication systems a lot. I just shook my head and said every time that I do not understand why students who've been assaulted or harassed would play by these rules. I still don't. These are Title IX regs, if I'm not mistaken; this overhaul pertains to how these cases are handled if the victim doesn't go to local, non-university law enforcement to report. There's nothing preventing student victims from calling the police.

I KNOW about the fear of reporting. I'm talking about nothing regulatory or in Title IX that prevents the victim from dropping a dime to law enforcement. Right? I mean, that's true, right?
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 10:09 AM on November 14 [3 favorites]


Right, but....police handle rape claims even worse than universities.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:10 AM on November 14 [13 favorites]


You're also assuming that people don't fear retaliation from supervisors if the abuser is part of the department, too. Or that university lawyers don't deliberately pressure students to seek remediation through the university adjudication system.
posted by sciatrix at 10:13 AM on November 14 [6 favorites]


Right, but....police handle rape claims even worse than universities.

Not sure I agree or disagree. Universities are downright authoritarian in the self-important way they try to make students believe that they govern every facet of a student's life.

In any case, Betsy DeVos isn't in charge of every local and state police force in the country. (Yet.)
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 10:13 AM on November 14 [3 favorites]


Colleges and universities are not really equipped to deal with Title IX as is, and often fumble up responses to sexual assaults. This means is that the kangaroo courts are just going to get worse.
posted by all about eevee at 10:14 AM on November 14 [5 favorites]


i grew up in a college town, and the university had its own campus police department. the local cops cooperated with them, and would frequently redirect complaints from students (even those that happened off-campus) to the campus police.
posted by murphy slaw at 10:15 AM on November 14 [6 favorites]


I have a suspicion that the Pelosi kerfuffle of the last couple days was cover for Schumer's re-election. I don't know how AOC's role in the Pelosi thing fits into that theory, though.
posted by rhizome at 10:16 AM on November 14


An aside while we wait for indictments - come on come on come on - is there an active Brexit thread where one could rubberneck? It seems like there's a crisis brewing...

I was wondering the same thing. Unfortunately I have deadlines looming and can’t put together a fresh post myself right now. I think this is the last one, almost a month ago.


[Hastily thrown together new Brexit thread HERE]
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:17 AM on November 14 [12 favorites]


You're also assuming that people don't fear retaliation from supervisors if the abuser is part of the department, too. Or that university lawyers don't deliberately pressure students to seek remediation through the university adjudication system.

I'm not, actually. I've worked at an Ivy League school and have had many other universities as clients. I know firsthand how hideous the atmosphere can be.

How about this: Rather than argue why or why not students play by these kangaroo court rules, I'd love it if there was a way to tell them they don't have to. That they don't have to partake of a university's "justice system" however it's set up according to Title IX and Betsy DeVos.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 10:17 AM on November 14 [1 favorite]


[Let's not steer into "all about campus rape", it's a big topic that will take us well off into the weeds in this thread. It's fine for it to be a separate thread; or folks can look at the many threads on this subject we've had in the last five or so years.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:19 AM on November 14 [5 favorites]


cover for Schumer's re-election

you may be somewhat oversteeped in megathreadology if this seems to you like a nefarious thing that needed cover
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:19 AM on November 14 [12 favorites]


Grassley set to become Senate pro tempore
The Senate Republican majority of the upcoming 116th Congress has unanimously nominated Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley to be Senate pro tempore.

The position has historically been given to the most senior member of the majority party in the upper chamber of Congress.

Once elected to the position by the full Senate on January 3, 2019, Grassley will be third in the line of presidential succession following the Vice President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

[emphasis mine]
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 10:20 AM on November 14 [3 favorites]


Fortunately the president pro tem position has no significance in an impeachment context. It would only come into play if the President, Vice President and Speaker all suddenly died or became incapacitated.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:25 AM on November 14 [8 favorites]


Blunt — Policy chair

Ugh. This asshat is up in 2022. If sane, normal Missouri wants something to get behind, it's getting someone to challenge this seat.

Bruce Franks Jr
posted by fluttering hellfire at 10:26 AM on November 14 [5 favorites]


> But also, critically, no one else is trying to usurp him.

This is very true. Of course, I still think he needs to go - you could put a literal empty chair there and it would hold more ground, would at least provide some obstruction, wouldn't concede as much, and would have the advantage, thanks to prior GOP conventions, of having faced more Republican ire in the past than Schumer himself has.

But alas, Empty Chair doesn't appear to be a rising star within the party.
posted by MysticMCJ at 10:27 AM on November 14 [8 favorites]


I'm not sure whether this is good or bad, demonstrating so clearly and uncontroversially that the Executive believes itself above the law.

CNN reports that pretty much the way Team Trump is going: Trump Argues In Court Filing That He Can Limit Journalists' Access to White House “"The President and White House possess the same broad discretion to regulate access to the White House for journalists (and other members of the public) that they possess to select which journalists receive interviews, or which journalists they acknowledge at press conferences," lawyers say in the filing.”

Surprising no one, the DoJ Office of Legal Counsel has issued a memo [PDF] saying that the Whitaker appointment is legal

USA Today's Brad Heath digs into the details: "OLC says it found one other acting attorney general who had not been confirmed by the Senate: J. Hubley Ashton held the office in 1866, for six days. […] (This will be Acting Attorney General Matt Whittaker's seventh full day in office.)"

Rather, Schumer's deals allowed the Trump nominees to move through the Senate faster and with less scrutiny

Buzzfeed's Zoe Tillman: "Senate Judiciary Committee Dems are asking Grassley to hold another round of hearings on judicial nominees who had hearings during the pre-election recess, since very, very few members attended" https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/6/b/6b70ff97-d170-4e81-945c-4e3c50c4e513/DB38CA0C7529FB6EDE835357690B75C0.2018.11.13-jud-dems-to-ceg-noms-2nd-hearing-request.pdf

Paul Brandus's West Wing Reports: "White House sent to the Senate a lengthy list of judges it has nominated to serve on the federal bench; Majority Leader McConnell has said getting more judges confirmed is his top priority"

Fox News's Jason Donner reports from the Capitol just now: "Mitch McConnell: Next Congress will continue top priority of confirming judges, said “no” when asked if there’ll be a partial gov shutdown & asked if special counsel protection legislation was necessary now said “no” & there’s no indication Mueller will not be allowed to finish."
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:31 AM on November 14 [5 favorites]


Fortunately the president pro tem position has no significance in an impeachment context. It would only come into play if the President, Vice President and Speaker all suddenly died or became incapacitated.

And if something like that is going down, it's a good bet that the Senate pro tempore would also suddenly die or become incapacitated. Like that episode of Last Man on Earth where the outbreak is really moving along and we get to see the state funerals of the Trump administration's entire line of succession.
posted by witchen at 10:32 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


Flake and Coons trying to bring Mueller bill to floor today.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:48 AM on November 14 [4 favorites]


from the "remember the caravan" department, Sec of Defense Mattis and Sec. of DHS Nielsen are visiting the troops doing "border support" in texas. Buzzfeed's Vera Bergengruen is livetweeting:
Mattis, standing with Nielsen, is speaking to troops at the Texas-Mexico border right now

Mattis tells troops at the border "the eyes of the world are on you" and that it's the mission is "certainly non-traditional...generally we do homeland security overseas"

Speaking to troops deployed to Texas, Mattis is asked by a soldier whether they will have to take down all that concertina wire they've been putting up along the border since they arrived.

The livestream catches him saying "We'll let you know"

Another soldier asked Mattis what the short and long term goals of the mission at the border are.

"Short term, get the obstacles in. Longer term...it is somewhat to be determined."

Mattis told troops deployed to the border to ignore news coverage questioning the mission - "There’s all sorts of stuff in the news...If you read all that stuff, you’ll go nuts, you know what I mean?"
posted by murphy slaw at 10:49 AM on November 14 [20 favorites]


Somewhat relevant to the American situation re: stealing refugee children--I heard this great podcast last night that directly connects "stranger danger" messages about threats lying in wait for white suburban children with America's continuing history of taking the children of black and indigenous peoples away from their families--either as slaves or to be "assimilated" into white society. The host calls out the current approach to undocumented children as another form of this long-practiced type of genocide.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 11:01 AM on November 14 [13 favorites]


The hashtag #FiveWhiteGuys is trending on Twitter - Charlie Pierce, Esquire: The #FiveWhiteGuys Are Offering a Sucker's Bet to Anti-Pelosi Democrats:
Now, it seems, they've gotten the band back together again. The #FiveWhiteGuys are Moulton, Ryan, Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, Kurt Schrader of Oregon, and Bill Foster of Illinois. The driving forces remain Moulton and Ryan, with the latter the putative leader. After an election in which the Democratic Party continues to elect a demographically and politically diverse collection of new House members, Ryan is still insisting that the party needs to "reach out" to angry white men in places like Ohio when, in fact, if the midterms proved anything, it is that the Democratic Party's future is in places like Arizona and Nevada, and even Georgia and Florida, while, except for Sherrod Brown, god bless him, Ohio is a lost cause. It was an outlier even in its own geographic area. There were Democratic—and progressive—victories in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois. Ohio and, yes, Iowa, were loss leaders.
Swear to God, if these assholes succeed, I'll turn into the Hulk and smash things. I am hoping they don't, and that Nancy Smash smacks their noses with rolled-up newspaper and sends them to their places.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 11:03 AM on November 14 [40 favorites]


McCarthy elected Minority Leader.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:03 AM on November 14


Hey American Media! Yeah! You! With the funny shirt! Yeah! You!

This is how you press Republicans on Trump.
posted by downtohisturtles at 11:08 AM on November 14 [39 favorites]


Do the republicans have any old dudes in the senate that aren't completely and instantaneously hair-afire, teeth-gnashingly, scream-to-drown-them-out-whenever-they-start-talking infuriating? Could they maybe offer pro tem to that person, instead?

Not really? Pro tem goes to the most senior Senator from the majority party, and the most senior Republican is, basically by definition, going to be a decrepit white man who's past the point where he has to think about what he says in public and doesn't see what the big deal with Jim Crow was.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:13 AM on November 14 [5 favorites]


WSJ, Shelby Holliday and Aruna Viswanatha, Mueller Probes Possible Witness Intimidation by Roger Stone
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office is exploring whether longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone tried to intimidate and discredit a witness who is contradicting Mr. Stone’s version of events about his contacts with WikiLeaks, according to people who have spoken to Mr. Mueller’s investigators.

In grand jury sessions and interviews, prosecutors have repeatedly asked about emails, text messages and online posts involving Mr. Stone and his former friend, New York radio personality Randy Credico, the people said. Mr. Stone has asserted that Mr. Credico was his backchannel to WikiLeaks, a controversial transparency group, an assertion Mr. Credico denies.

Mr. Mueller’s investigators are probing whether Mr. Stone had direct contact with WikiLeaks and knew ahead of time about its release of stolen Democratic emails, as he claimed during the campaign and now denies. Mr. Stone says he is angry at Mr. Credico because his ex-friend has “refused to tell the truth” about being his conduit to WikiLeaks.

Filmmaker David Lugo, who knows both men, said in an interview he has testified before Mr. Mueller’s grand jury about a blog post Mr. Stone helped him draft that was harshly critical of Mr. Credico. Another witness, businessman Bill Samuels, said he was questioned by Mr. Mueller’s team about Mr. Credico’s reaction to allegedly threatening messages sent by Mr. Stone.

Prosecutors also are examining messages between Messrs. Stone and Credico that involve the radio personality’s decision to assert his Fifth Amendment before Congress, according to a person familiar with the probe.
...
In emails sent to Mr. Credico and reviewed by the Journal, Mr. Stone threatened to “sue the f—” out of him, called him “a loser a liar and a rat” and told him to “prepare to die c— sucker.”
posted by zachlipton at 11:14 AM on November 14 [16 favorites]


> Do the republicans have any old dudes in the senate that aren't completely and instantaneously hair-afire, teeth-gnashingly, scream-to-drown-them-out-whenever-they-start-talking infuriating?

So I know we get some flack for complaining about our own party... The thing is, I can maintain some sense of composure and rationality when I talk about the Dems. If I attempt to even talk about the Republicans, it usually ends up as a vocal exhortation of fury vaguely resembling a much angrier version of the sound of ultimate suffering from the Princess Bride.

So that being said - the answer seems to be a firm "no" as far as I'm concerned. As I think through potential alternatives, literally every one of them is infuriating just in my own imagination - and I tend to be an optimist.
posted by MysticMCJ at 11:16 AM on November 14 [1 favorite]


Pro tem goes to the most senior Senator from the majority party

...by tradition. The position is elected by the Senate. They just haven't bothered electing anyone who wasn't the senior serving member of the majority party since 1949.
posted by Etrigan at 11:21 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


Speaking to troops deployed to Texas, Mattis is asked by a soldier whether they will have to take down all that concertina wire they've been putting up along the border since they arrived.
The livestream catches him saying "We'll let you know"
Another soldier asked Mattis what the short and long term goals of the mission at the border are.
"Short term, get the obstacles in. Longer term...it is somewhat to be determined."
Mattis told troops deployed to the border to ignore news coverage questioning the mission - "There’s all sorts of stuff in the news...If you read all that stuff, you’ll go nuts, you know what I mean?"


I'm thinking about Rumsfeld being asked by soldiers in Iraq why in the hell they don't have armor under the Humvees. It may be my own biases, and hearing/watching the tone of these exchanges may come off much differently than it reads, but those questions strike me as military passive-aggression. These are not the questions asked by soldiers who believe in what they're doing and are happy about it. I hope I'm right about that.

And God I hope some of the Cult of St. Mattis can see the flailing weakness in his answers. Probably too much to hope for, but still.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:25 AM on November 14 [19 favorites]


@AdamSerwer: Things that can be inferred from this stenographic interview from the Daily Caller: The president's understanding of nigh-nonexistent voter fraud comes from bugs bunny cartoons, and he has also never bought his own groceries

I know Serwer has some flair, but he's being pretty literal here:
The Republicans don’t win and that’s because of potentially illegal votes,” Trump complained. “When people get in line that have absolutely no right to vote and they go around in circles. Sometimes they go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again. Nobody takes anything. It’s really a disgrace what’s going on.”

“If you buy a box of cereal — you have a voter ID,” Trump continued. “They try to shame everybody by calling them racist, or calling them something, anything they can think of, when you say you want voter ID. But voter ID is a very important thing.”

When asked about how to prevent a repeat situation in the 2020 presidential election, Trump bluntly said Snipes needed to go, along with her “cronies.”
The President of the United States thinks people are walking around in circles with disguises to vote and that you need ID to buy cereal.

It's also striking that the White House gave serial plagiarist Benny Johnson an interview.

Can't believe I didn't see this one coming: @aedwardslevy: the President is a Cereal Liar
posted by zachlipton at 11:32 AM on November 14 [53 favorites]


I think the insinuation is that they're giving away voter ID free in a box of cereal, not that you need ID to buy it.

Still patently ridiculous, just of a different, more tired sort.
posted by Imperfect at 11:38 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


It's also striking that the White House gave serial plagiarist Benny Johnson an interview.

as opposed to a job?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:39 AM on November 14


Good piece in Jacobin by Princeton assistant professor of history Matt Karp:

51 Percent Losers: The midterms have given the Democratic Party a boost. But their professional-class politics are a cul de sac — we desperately need a political revolution driven by the needs and aspirations of the multiracial working class.

tldr: actually I couldn't choose just a couple of paragraphs to lift and quote. It's worth reading the whole thing.
posted by homunculus at 11:39 AM on November 14 [17 favorites]


Roughly eleven billion years ago in August, Trump said you need photo ID to buy groceries (NB: NYT link). So I think it's the first thing.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:40 AM on November 14 [22 favorites]


This is how you press Republicans on Trump.

The extended interview is good, too.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:42 AM on November 14 [7 favorites]


Surprising no one, the DoJ Office of Legal Counsel has issued a memo [PDF] saying that the Whitaker appointment is legal

No less unsurprisingly, the OLC's reasoning seems dubious:

ABC's Mike Levine:
[WaPo reporter] .@DevlinBarrett asked DOJ official: "Doesn't that mean that in theory the president under your interpretation could fire anyone he wants &...just make anyone a cabinet official?" Official responded:
“I don't want to address hypotheticals," but then suggested Devlin was “correct”
Fordham law prof. Jed Shugerman:
I think I caught a major legal error on p. 5 of the OLC memo on #Whitaker.
OLC argues that the Vacancies Act applies to DOJ statute 28 USC 508, because the DOJ statute cross-refers to the VRA.
That would be difficult b/c Congress passed 28 USC 508 before the VRA. See my thread: https://twitter.com/jedshug/status/1062542808106655745
Duke law prof. Walter Dellinger is "unpersuaded" as well:
My main difference with OLC is over the central Supreme Court decision: Eaton (1898). Eaton did as OLC notes, sustain a non-confirmed appointee who was limited in time. But the Ct added that the appointment was “for a limited time AND under special and limited conditions"

Allowing the bypass of the Senate only makes sense where there are “special conditions” as there surely were in Eaton and just as surely were not here where there are on the same floor Senate confirmed officials. OLC is silent on the Q of "special circumstances"
Fun fact via Yale senior lecturer and former FBI agent Asha Rangappa: "The current head of the OLC, incidentally (Steve Engel), worked as a Deputy Assistant AG in the OLC that created the torture memos."
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:00 PM on November 14 [13 favorites]


[A few comments deleted. No biggie but let's skip the "using ID at the supermarket" discussion, which we've had a few times before and which doesn't really lead anywhere useful.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:12 PM on November 14 [4 favorites]


Jed Shugerman has followed up the tweet above:

1. I no longer "think" i caught a major error by OLC. I know they made a major error.

2. If the OLC needed help fixing up a shaky timeline with old calendars, they should have called up Kavanaugh and Squi.


Jed Shugerman just earned the title of the Chrissy Tiegen chair of legal burns at Fordham Law [that last part is fake]
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:13 PM on November 14 [68 favorites]


Surprising no one, the DoJ Office of Legal Counsel has issued a memo [PDF] saying that the Whitaker appointment is legal.

Recall that the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel also issued memos saying that human torture authorized by the president was just fine. They can write a memo saying literally anything the president asks them to.
posted by JackFlash at 12:27 PM on November 14 [8 favorites]


HuffPo: DC Neo-Nazi Who Called Pittsburgh Murders A ‘Dry Run’ Arrested; Has Deep Ties To 'Alt Right'

More from domestic terrorism reporter JJ McNab:
When the Pittsburgh synagogue mass shooting took place, one of Clark's Gab friends asked if he had done it? It's a pretty good list of the most verbal Bowl Gang members.

And according to the Affidavit, there's evidence that Clark either planned or knew of additional attacks.
This is frightening on a lot of levels, not the least that, had this attack happened, it's very easy to imagine the reaction would very likely have been much different than two weeks ago. The Tree of Life synagogue was a Conservative (the Jewish American definition) congregation in a heavily Jewish area, and while I don't know their political leanings, at least one survivor is a Trump supporter. DC Jews, however, tend to be secular or Reform, are more scattered throughout the city and suburbs, and tend to lean much further to the left. Many of us have proudly marched in solidarity with Muslims and Palestinians for social justice causes, including their rights here and in Israel being attacked.

In the wake of the Pittsburgh attack, even when the ADL (who is theoretically supposed to be supportive to all Jewish Americans) took to the NYT editorial pages to condemn anti-Semitic violence, not once did they name Trump, nor that every single elected official they tied to anti-Semitic rhetoric was a Republican, nor that their favorite bogeyman (Farrakhan) supported Trump in 2016 and has no institutional support amongst Democrats, let alone anything approaching the reach that figures on the right have. And then today they released a report called "How Conspiracy Theories Can Kill," which again fails to mention the president's party or that of the politicians who spread conspiracy theories, and ultimately fails to conclude that maybe, just maybe, this is an issue that is dominated by the right wing.

Apparently we were lucky this time, but that doesn't mean we'll be so lucky next time, or the time after that, or...well you get the idea. We already know that the Israeli government's leadership, who trafficked and engaged in, and continues to traffic and engage in the same anti-Semitic rhetoric that Trump and the GOP does while attacking and detaining even left-of-center Jewish American critics, doesn't care about us. So when there is no guarantee that the institutions and organizations that have no compunctions about supporting the "right" (in several senses) Jewish Americans will support us when it happens, it's scary. I can only hope that they'll finally find the courage to cut out the both-sidesism and the right-washing, but the things we're hearing from conservative Jewish Americans--and what we're not hearing from groups like the ADL--doesn't really give me that hope.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:49 PM on November 14 [35 favorites]


Four of the six Opinion headlines on the WaPo front page right now:

A frightful portrait of a president out of control
Melania Trump is helping sexist stereotypes stay alive
The White House is in meltdown
The Republican Party has a woman problem

In other words, Wednesday.
posted by Melismata at 12:56 PM on November 14 [23 favorites]


The "frightful portrait of a president out of control"-type stories have been a constant since Day 1 of Trump's presidency. This one from yesterday includes the line "Trump has retreated into a cocoon of bitterness and resentment," which begs the question of when it was that he lived outside a cocoon of bitterness and resentment.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:02 PM on November 14 [39 favorites]


For a group [the so-called Tea Party] that came into power chanting about the deficit, this is quite the legacy.

And boy howdy, Democrats should never let anyone forget it. Every single time someone in the media concern trolls about the deficit, Democrats should simply respond "The Tea Party came to power by yelling about the deficit, and their legacy is nothing but more deficits."
posted by Gelatin at 1:07 PM on November 14 [30 favorites]


@VeraMBergen: Mattis: "My mother was an immigrant, ok? She told me how hard it was to get into America. So believe me, we want legal immigration. That's part of what makes America good, but illegal we're going to carry out the law." (His mother came to the US from Canada as an infant)
posted by homunculus at 1:08 PM on November 14 [14 favorites]


For a group that came into power chanting about the deficit, this is quite the legacy.

They didn't say boo when George W. Bush turned the all-time record surplus he inherited from Bill Clinton into a then-record deficit. Their chants were really about Fear of a Black President.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:24 PM on November 14 [23 favorites]


NYT, Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis
And when that failed — as the company’s stock price plummeted and sparked a consumer backlash — Facebook went on the attack.

While Mr. Zuckerberg conducted a public apology tour in the last year, Ms. Sandberg has overseen an aggressive lobbying campaign to combat Facebook’s critics, shift public anger toward rival companies and ward off damaging regulation. Facebook employed a Republican opposition-research firm to discredit activist protesters, in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros. It also tapped its business relationships, persuading a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic.
...
In July, organizers with a coalition called Freedom from Facebook crashed a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, where a company executive was testifying about its policies. As the executive spoke, the organizers held aloft signs depicting Ms. Sandberg and Ms. Zuckerberg, who are both Jewish, as two heads of an octopus stretching around the globe.

Eddie Vale, a Democratic public relations strategist who led the protest, later said the image was meant to evoke old cartoons of Standard Oil, the Gilded Age monopoly. But a Facebook official quickly called the Anti-Defamation League, a leading Jewish civil rights organization, to flag the sign. Facebook and other tech companies had partnered with the civil rights group since late 2017 on an initiative to combat anti-Semitism and hate speech online.

That afternoon, the A.D.L. issued a warning from its Twitter account. “Depicting Jews as an octopus encircling the globe is a classic anti-Semitic trope,” the organization wrote. “Protest Facebook — or anyone — all you want, but pick a different image.” The criticism was soon echoed in conservative outlets including The Washington Free Beacon, which has sought to tie Freedom from Facebook to what the publication calls “extreme anti-Israel groups.”
...
Facebook also used Definers to take on bigger opponents, such as Mr. Soros, a longtime boogeyman to mainstream conservatives and the target of intense anti-Semitic smears on the far right. A research document circulated by Definers to reporters this summer, just a month after the House hearing, cast Mr. Soros as the unacknowledged force behind what appeared to be a broad anti-Facebook movement.
...
In July, as Facebook’s troubles threatened to cost the company billions of dollars in market value, Mr. Schumer confronted Mr. Warner, by then Facebook’s most insistent inquisitor in Congress.

Back off, he told Mr. Warner, according to a Facebook employee briefed on Mr. Schumer’s intervention. Mr. Warner should be looking for ways to work with Facebook, Mr. Schumer advised, not harm it. Facebook lobbyists were kept abreast of Mr. Schumer’s efforts to protect the company, according to the employee.
posted by zachlipton at 1:29 PM on November 14 [19 favorites]


This is kind of sort of maybe finally something, if another Republican joins him.

@pkcapitol: Flake takes action: He will not vote to confirm any judicial nominee that is already on Senate calendar, and will oppose any judicial nominee in committee, until the Mueller protection bill gets a vote. In 51-49 Senate, that can make McConnell life a tad more difficult.

This came after McConnell objected to Flake's attempt to bring the Muller protection bill up for consideration by the Senate.

(Note that nominations can be moved out of committee even if Flake doesn't support them there, so this would lead to, at best, a 50-50 tie broken by Pence unless another Republican joins in)
posted by zachlipton at 1:32 PM on November 14 [26 favorites]


CNN: Republican Senator Threatens To Vote Against Judges After Gop Blocks Vote On Mueller Protection Bill
Retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake said Wednesday that he will not vote to confirm the Trump administration's judicial nominees on the Senate floor or advance them in the Senate Judiciary Committee if legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller does not receive a Senate floor vote.

Flake made the new judicial threat after he and Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, unsuccessfully attempted to force a Senate vote on the special counsel legislation Senate Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell objected to the request for a vote from Flake.
Meanwhile, Politico's Darren Samuelsohn reports: “In a one-page status report filed this PM, lawyers for special counsel Robert Mueller and Rick Gates say the former Trump campaign deputy "continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations" and therefore isn't ready to be sentenced yet.”
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:33 PM on November 14 [8 favorites]


Erik Wemple is tweeting from the Acosta hearing. Some highlights (Boutrous is Ted Boutrous, representing CNN, Kelly is Judge Timothy J. Kelly, Burnham represents the government):
Judge Kelly asks CNN counsel whether revocation if @Acosta revocation was content discrimination on its face. Yes, says Ted Boutrous, repping CNN. Kelly says there is some evidence that it was Acosta’s behavior and not viewpoint that triggered revocation. Says there is “evidence on both sides

“Content-based evidence is overwhelming” says Boutrous, who brings up a Trump campaign email citing CNN bias

Boutrous on Trump: “He’s the most aggressive, dare I say rude, person in the room.”

Boutrous argues that WH has abandoned argument about Acosta placing his hands on an intern during famous mic standoff

Judge Kelly asks why revocation process wasn’t sufficient. Boutrous responds that THERE WAS NO PROCESS

Boutrous and Judge are now discussing the TRO request, and I cannot believe that we are all paying for four government lawyers to appear in court to fight for the revocation of a reporter’s White House credentials.

USG lawyer says WH argument doesn’t depend on the “places his hands on an intern” point initially put forth by @PressSec. And he relies on argument that @Acosta conduct wa such that WH couldn’t run an orderly press briefing

Burnham says that there no case for viewpoint discrimination against CNN bc network has about 50 hard passes

Burnham: “A single journalist’s attempt to monopolize a press conference is not a viewpoint.”

Also: “Grandstanding...is not a viewpoint.”—-USG lawyer Burnham
posted by zachlipton at 1:51 PM on November 14 [11 favorites]


I guess you never know but I am not sure they're going to have a lot of luck with this 50 other hard passes thing as a counterpoint to viewpoint discrimination. It's still viewpoint discrimination even if you are going after one reporter and letting others at the same organization in, just as you couldn't deny a parade permit to one specific catholic church and say it's okay because you let a different catholic church get one.

Unless they have some sort of documented process for supposed behavior offenses I'm not sure I think they're going to have luck there either. I certainly hope that Boutrous raises the matter of Trump and Sanders' tenor in these events. Seems insane not to raise the matter of whether the administration is setting a tone that reporters are simply going along with.
posted by phearlez at 2:12 PM on November 14


Boutrous argues that WH has abandoned argument about Acosta placing his hands on an intern during famous mic standoff
...
USG lawyer says WH argument doesn’t depend on the “places his hands on an intern” point initially put forth by @PressSec.
Yeah, so, that entire thing was bullshit from the outset. Just for the record. Acosta should sue for defamation. I halfway believe he could actually meet the "actual malice" standard of NYT v. Sullivan!
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 2:13 PM on November 14 [9 favorites]


Judge Kelly asks why revocation process wasn’t sufficient. Boutrous responds that THERE WAS NO PROCESS

Wasn't this mentioned in the court filings? Does the judge not read them beforehand? Is he just asking anyway?
posted by reductiondesign at 2:14 PM on November 14 [1 favorite]


Guilty Pleasures is the only ice cream truck defending Mueller's investigation into Trump's Russian collusion:
We at @MoveOn don't have any special knowledge of whether indictments are coming down this week. But we can guarantee that you can get free Indict-Mint flavored ice cream at the Trump Hotel tomorrow
posted by growabrain at 2:27 PM on November 14 [20 favorites]


Matt Fuller, Nancy Pelosi’s Democratic Foes Prepare To Go Public
About a dozen incumbent Democrats and a half-dozen incoming Democrats are preparing a letter pledging to not support Pelosi on the House floor for speaker. The members also intend to note another contingent of Democrats who privately say they won’t support the longtime California Democrat but won’t sign the letter, according to Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), one of the ringleaders of the effort to block Pelosi.

Sources familiar with the letter say there are currently 17 names on it, but the group is trying to get more than 20 members before releasing it. Currently on the letter, though not certain to stay on it, are

[names follow]
So that's 17 names, but there's another 9+ who have made negative statements, including a number of newly elected reps who campaigned on a promise not to support Pelosi for Speaker. Depending on exactly how the last House races go, she can only afford to lose about 16.

There have also been some weirder ideas floated, such as the thought that some Republicans could back her in exchange for her support of the "Problem Solvers Caucus" reform package. This moronic idea would ensure that the House could have daily, perhaps even hourly, votes for Speaker, as the gavel would be held only at the whims of Republicans who could pull their support at any time. Alternatively, some Republicans could just vote Present when the Speaker vote comes around, which would lead to the same problem: Republicans would control the fate of the Democratic Speaker.

What Tim Ryan has not managed to produce is an actual candidate to be Speaker instead, though they're big on Marcia Fudge.
posted by zachlipton at 2:33 PM on November 14 [9 favorites]


I cannot imagine any Republican wanting "supported Nancy Pelosi" hanging around their necks, ever. Not even for a clever tactical "Haha I did it cuz she sux and Dems suck" argument. They know their base won't accept that kind of nuance.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:37 PM on November 14 [7 favorites]


they're big on Marcia Fudge.

Well, who ... isn't?
posted by petebest at 2:41 PM on November 14 [1 favorite]


CNN: Trump's Mood Takes a Foul Turn: 'He's Pissed -- At Damn Near Everyone'
"Yes, he's pissed -- at damn near everyone," a White House official said, noting the mood in the Oval Office is darker than normal this week. After nearly a month straight of campaigning before adoring crowds, the applause has gone silent and the President has retreated. The tempest has led to rampant speculation inside the building about the fates of other senior staffers, some of whom are beginning to plan their exits.

Friends of the President describe him as embittered by the election losses and troubled by the Mueller investigation. He met Monday with his lawyers to go over a series of written questions from the special counsel. Some of his longtime confidants are worried for his health, believing he's gained weight and looks unwell.
The Trump White House springs leaks like these every time there's a crisis or setback, but that doesn't detract from the schadenfreude at the anonymous staffers' sob stories. Otherwise, the main value to this piece are the (unattributed) details about the sparring between Bolton and Team Melania over Mira Ricardel's NSC job—which she still has, as of today.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:45 PM on November 14 [9 favorites]


The right has succeeded in making another successful woman seem so "problematic" (a word, I note, that in my reading is only applied to women and generally is intended to reference scandals created entirely in the minds of that woman's critics) that some members of her own party are trying to remove her from a position for which she's the current best candidate. That's how effective right wing propaganda mixed with both-wing misogyny is.

In the past, I would have qualified that with a statement that I, of course, don't 100% agree with everything she's said or done, but I recognize I almost never do that with any male politicians because my own internal misogyny never makes me feel like I have to justify or qualify my support of men. Honestly, I don't agree with any human being 100%. None of us do. No politician is perfect. That should just be assumed.

I do think Pelosi is the best person to be speaker of the House in 2018. I hope she regains the gavel and spends the next couple years giving Trump and his minions hell.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:48 PM on November 14 [86 favorites]


NBC, Anna Schecter, Exclusive text messages show Roger Stone and friend discussing WikiLeaks plans, in which Unreliable Narrator Roger Stone hands his text messages to the press to throw Credico under the bus and deflect from himself:
Six days before WikiLeaks began releasing Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails, Roger Stone had a text message conversation with a friend about WikiLeaks, according to copies of phone records obtained exclusively by NBC News.

“Big news Wednesday,” the Stone pal, radio host Randy Credico, wrote on Oct. 1, 2016, according to the text messages provided by Stone. “Now pretend u don’t know me.”

“U died 5 years ago,” Stone replied.

“Great,” Credico wrote back. “Hillary’s campaign will die this week.”

Credico turned out to be wrong on one count — nothing incriminating about Clinton came out that Wednesday. But two days later, on Oct. 7, WikiLeaks released its first dump of emails stolen from Podesta, altering the trajectory of the 2016 presidential election.
...
The text messages obtained by NBC News appear to show that Stone and Credico exchanged messages about Assange having damaging information about Clinton at least as early as Aug. 27, 2016. The texts show that at 6:07 p.m. that day, Credico wrote to Stone, “Julian Assange has kryptonite on Hillary.”
So Stone is releasing this as his defense: he didn't personally collude, but he just got information from someone else.
posted by zachlipton at 2:56 PM on November 14 [11 favorites]


Some of his longtime confidants are worried for his health, believing he's gained weight and looks unwell.

Right? It's noticeable. He's not having fun.
posted by petebest at 2:58 PM on November 14 [3 favorites]


BuzzFeed, Stormy Daniels' Attorney Michael Avenatti Has Been Arrested On Suspicion Of Domestic Violence

If we can all just never hear from him or speak of him again, that would be swell.
posted by zachlipton at 3:00 PM on November 14 [30 favorites]


May as well post the entire article:

Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing porn actor Stormy Daniels in her legal pursuit of President Trump, has been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence in Los Angeles, police confirmed.

Avenatti had not yet been booked, but a report on the alleged incident was taken on Tuesday, Los Angeles police said.

News of his arrest was first reported by TMZ.

Avenatti's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


It seems not fully baked yet.
posted by petebest at 3:05 PM on November 14 [3 favorites]


n.b. Buzzfeed's source of the Avenatti domestic violence story is TMZ, which (a) has very good sources in the LAPD and (b) is very pro-Trump. We'll see how this shakes down, but zero tolerance for domestic abuse when it comes to would-be 2020 candidates.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:09 PM on November 14 [14 favorites]


While I feel like the first concern should be for how badly the victim was hurt and the nature of the charges: this seems like exactly the sort of morale boost Trump needs to pull himself out of his funk. He's gonna run around shouting about this guy being abuser, completely disregarding his own long history and the general monumental awfulness of his camp as a whole.

If anyone was wondering when the next avalanche of ugly was coming, here we are.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:13 PM on November 14 [4 favorites]


So that's 17 names, but there's another 9+ who have made negative statements, including a number of newly elected reps who campaigned on a promise not to support Pelosi for Speaker. Depending on exactly how the last House races go, she can only afford to lose about 16.

So worst case they take a vote and 200 vote for Pelosi and 30 for someone else. So they take another vote and 210 vote for Pelosi and 20 for someone else. And then 215 for Pelosi and 15 for someone else. And so on until Pelosi gets 218 votes. There is about zero chance of any other Democrat getting 218 votes. They will just keep voting until Pelosi gets her majority.
posted by JackFlash at 3:17 PM on November 14 [6 favorites]


This Avenatti thing is the least surprising plot twist I can imagine.
posted by Justinian at 3:17 PM on November 14 [22 favorites]


Bolton lost to Team Melania, it seems.

The WaPo's Josh Dawsey reports: “Statement from Sarah Sanders: “Mira Ricardel will continue to support the President as she departs the White House to transition to a new role within the Administration. The President is grateful for Ms. Ricardel’s continued service to the American people..."”
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:18 PM on November 14 [6 favorites]


That CNN article is interesting: TEN people get bylines on it, and it specifically says that Melania thought Mira was a bully. SO THERE'S WHERE HER ANTI-BULLYING CAMPAIGN IS.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:21 PM on November 14 [14 favorites]


The longest election for Speaker took two months and 133 ballots.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:21 PM on November 14 [2 favorites]


The Republican Party has a woman problem

I think that's supposed to be the other way around.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 3:23 PM on November 14 [17 favorites]


So everything yesterday seems like it was accurate, but the East Wing twisted the knife on Ricardel a bit too early.

The President is so grateful for Ricardel's service that she's been given a new role that nobody seems to have identified its title or even what agency it's situated in. I'm sure all the top management books advise vaguely announcing that the employees you're grateful for have been sent generically elsewhere.
posted by zachlipton at 3:23 PM on November 14 [3 favorites]


From the department of five-alarm-scandals-that-are-destroying-lives-but-don't-rate-five-minutes-of-attention-anymore, NBC News, Under Ben Carson, more families live in HUD housing that fails health and safety inspections, in which HUD tightened inspection standards in 2016, but hasn't acted to fix the hazardous properties.
An NBC News investigation has found that more than 1,000 out of HUD’s nearly 28,000 federally subsidized multifamily properties failed their most recent inspection — a failure rate that is more than 30 percent higher than in 2016, according to an analysis of HUD records.
...
But more failing properties also mean that HUD has a bigger caseload of troubled homes to oversee. And rather than beefing up the department’s staff to oversee them, HUD has lost hundreds of staff members in the wake of a hiring freeze mandated by President Donald Trump. HUD’s enforcement office, tasked with going after the worst landlords, now has the lowest staff levels since 1999, according to a federal watchdog. At the same time, Carson has proposed raising rents on poor families, requiring them to pay a higher percentage of their income for housing, and the Trump administration has pushed — so far unsuccessfully — for steep budget cuts.

The staff cutbacks have made it more difficult for the department to identify and fix problems quickly, current and former HUD employees say. While tenant advocates have long criticized HUD’s oversight as being too lax, a dozen current and former HUD officials — both political appointees and career staff — also describe a climate of inertia under Carson that they say is undermining the department’s work.

“There’s no urgency on anything,” said a current HUD official who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution.
...
In Hartford, just up the street from Infill, a Section 8 property run by another landlord passed inspection in February despite holes in the ceiling, rampant mold and other serious problems. Meeting privately with irate tenants in early October, HUD officials blamed an inspection process that can result in inflated scores from contract inspectors, despite recent reforms.

“That's how you get a passing score with mold, vermin and a falling down bathroom ceiling — the system is broken,” said one HUD official in a recording of the meeting with tenants provided to NBC News on the condition that the participants not be identified. (HUD verified that the recording was authentic.)
posted by zachlipton at 3:29 PM on November 14 [25 favorites]


If we can all just never hear from him or speak of him again, that would be swell.

I'd like to speak of him just to opine that we should, in the future, be wary of supporting titanically obnoxious pricks just because they're our pricks.
posted by theodolite at 3:38 PM on November 14 [14 favorites]


I agree with that 100%. The question isn't how did some of us see Avenatti's immolation coming, it's how did some of us not.
posted by Justinian at 3:38 PM on November 14 [2 favorites]


Looks like that CNN piece was right on the money: "Most view Bolton's efforts to preserve Ricardel's job as futile and just delaying the inevitable, which Bolton apparently realized after seeing the drama unfold from half a world away. But Trump has surprised staffers in the past, and there was some speculation on Wednesday that Ricardel will end up in another position in the administration outside the National Security Council. The first lady does not offer the President staffing advice on a regular basis, but one former White House official said that when she does, it carries significant weight."

Meanwhile, NBC and the AP have independently confirmed TMZ's Avenatti scoop.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:39 PM on November 14 [2 favorites]


NYT:
President Trump threw his support behind a substantial rewrite of the nation’s prison and sentencing laws on Wednesday, opening a potential but narrow path to enacting the most significant criminal justice overhaul in a generation.

Mr. Trump’s endorsement is considered critical to the success of the bipartisan compromise, which would invest heavily in anti-recidivism programs and lower some mandatory minimum sentences.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:47 PM on November 14 [8 favorites]


While Mr. Zuckerberg conducted a public apology tour in the last year, Ms. Sandberg has overseen an aggressive lobbying campaign to combat Facebook’s critics, shift public anger toward rival companies and ward off damaging regulation. Facebook employed a Republican opposition-research firm to discredit activist protesters, in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros. It also tapped its business relationships, persuading [the ADL] to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic.
[...]
In July, as Facebook’s troubles threatened to cost the company billions of dollars in market value, Mr. Schumer confronted Mr. Warner, by then Facebook’s most insistent inquisitor in Congress.

Back off, he told Mr. Warner, according to a Facebook employee briefed on Mr. Schumer’s intervention. Mr. Warner should be looking for ways to work with Facebook, Mr. Schumer advised, not harm it. Facebook lobbyists were kept abreast of Mr. Schumer’s efforts to protect the company, according to the employee.


So, as Adam Serwer puts it:
Facebook decided to defend themselves by spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and then accusing its critics of being anti-Semitic. Difficult to top that combination of evil and cynicism
I take back my upthread assessment: for the ADL and centrist Jews, "we just don't care" is merely the baseline, and active collaboration with enablers of both anti-leftist and anti-Semitic violence (many of who are themselves Jewish) is something to be willingly, if not enthusiastically, pursued in the name of self-interest.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:50 PM on November 14 [30 favorites]


Every John Kelly piece I’ve read for eight months, but maybe it’s real this time? (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
Behind the scenes, all is not smooth sailing with the chief of staff, whose exit has been rumored in stories identical to this for the past year.

According to a senior staffer, Trump no longer obeys Kelly’s commands and has started to run loose through the White House grounds at night, sometimes biting the heads off small rodents and refusing to give them up even when Kelly holds out the promise of a rally at which the president won’t have to denounce any white supremacists.

Kelly is frequently frustrated, the staffer says, because his preferred issues, including Cool, Fun Things ICE Could Maybe Do, have been placed on the back burner, and although Kelly painstakingly reviews a PowerPoint presentation with the president every night before Executive Time, doing a special voice for each policy area, Trump is generally unresponsive and makes lip farts until he has finished, sometimes even addressing him as “Reince,” the ultimate sign of disrespect.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:54 PM on November 14 [33 favorites]


I want to highlight one other bit of the NYT's Facebook story too, though the whole thing is worth reading:
Definers had established a Silicon Valley outpost earlier that year, led by Tim Miller, a former spokesman for Jeb Bush who preached the virtues of campaign-style opposition research. For tech firms, he argued in one interview, a goal should be to “have positive content pushed out about your company and negative content that’s being pushed out about your competitor.”
...
On a conservative news site called the NTK Network, dozens of articles blasted Google and Apple for unsavory business practices. One story called Mr. Cook hypocritical for chiding Facebook over privacy, noting that Apple also collects reams of data from users. Another played down the impact of the Russians’ use of Facebook.

The rash of news coverage was no accident: NTK is an affiliate of Definers, sharing offices and staff with the public relations firm in Arlington, Va. Many NTK Network stories are written by staff members at Definers or America Rising, the company’s political opposition-research arm, to attack their clients’ enemies. While the NTK Network does not have a large audience of its own, its content is frequently picked up by popular conservative outlets, including Breitbart.
That's "@crookedmedia's token Republican" Tim Miller. As a Recode article last year explains, this was exactly what they were quite openly selling:
Given the “spotlight that is on their industry,” Miller told Recode in an interview, the Valley’s biggest brands should invest more to ensure “you have positive content pushed out about your company and negative content that’s being pushed out about your competitor, or regulator, or activist groups or activist investors, that are challenging you.”
We've all focused a lot on foreign information operations, for obvious reasons, but the same circumstances that have left us vulnerable to Russian meddling has left us even more vulnerable to perfectly legal domestic, corporate-baked influence campaigns.
posted by zachlipton at 3:55 PM on November 14 [15 favorites]


be wary of supporting titanically obnoxious pricks just because they're our pricks

I mean, this is how we got Trump. Both many of his cultists and many more Republicans who weren't exactly on the Trump train but who also didn't oppose it are fully aware he's an obnoxious, cheating, lying bully. They thought he'd be their obnoxious, cheating, lying bully and happily pulled the lever.
posted by soren_lorensen at 3:56 PM on November 14 [9 favorites]


The Avenatti story has gotten really strange, to the extent I will regretfully mention him once again in the name of accuracy:
Avenatti's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But in a statement to BuzzFeed News, attorneys for Avenatti's wife, Lisa Storie-Avenatti, refuted reports by TMZ that the alleged incident involved her.

"My client and I have reviewed the TMZ article alleging that my client, Lisa Storie-Avenatti, has been injured and that Michael Avenatti has been arrested as a result of some incident that occurred between them. This article is not true as it pertains to my client," the statement said. "Ms. Storie-Avenatti was not subject to any such incident on Tuesday night. Further, she was not at Mr. Avenatti’s apartment on the date that this alleged incident occurred. My client states that there has never been domestic violence in her relationship with Michael and that she has never known Michael to be physically violent toward anyone."
But the LAPD is confirming an arrest.

Oh, and Jacob Whol's fake outfit wants credit, which means absolutely nothing because he's a liar who is either telling the truth about lying or lying about a lie.

Anyway, I don't know what's going on, but probably best to wait to find out before coming to broad conclusions.

Also, while we're correcting stories, NBC, Brandy Zadrozny, The FBI said he called the Pittsburgh shooting 'a dry run for things to come.' But he was talking about a different attack., in which Clark is still very much bad news, but the FBI seems to have botched this thing up, as in not checking the datestamps:
A look at Clark’s posting history shows that he was referring to a different alleged terrorist — the man accused of sending pipe bombs to Trump critics — and that Clark posted the comment about a “dry run” before the Pittsburgh shooting took place.
posted by zachlipton at 4:05 PM on November 14 [12 favorites]


Schumer needs to go, Facebook needs to be dissolved.
posted by The Whelk at 4:08 PM on November 14 [38 favorites]


Retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake said Wednesday that he will not vote to confirm the Trump administration's judicial nominees on the Senate floor or advance them in the Senate Judiciary Committee if legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller does not receive a Senate floor vote.

Too fucking little, too fucking Flake. Even if Flake follows through on this, which he won't, McConnell can wait him out now. At most Flake could slow down the confirmation machine for exactly two months, IF he has a second vote, which he doesn't. They'll call in Pence to break ties and keep confirming.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:10 PM on November 14 [15 favorites]


Schumer needs to go, Facebook needs to be dissolved.

Nationalized as an arms-length agency, no? (Facebook I mean, not Schumer -- he can go)
posted by tivalasvegas at 4:19 PM on November 14 [5 favorites]


Facebook decided to defend themselves by spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and then accusing its critics of being anti-Semitic. Difficult to top that combination of evil and cynicism

i mean, that’s like the textbook definition of chutzpah right there
posted by murphy slaw at 4:28 PM on November 14 [20 favorites]


On a conservative news site called the NTK Network, dozens of articles blasted Google and Apple for unsavory business practices. One story called Mr. Cook hypocritical for chiding Facebook over privacy, noting that Apple also collects reams of data from users. Another played down the impact of the Russians’ use of Facebook.
Twitter got a pass since its reputation could not be lowered.
posted by benzenedream at 4:44 PM on November 14 [14 favorites]


WaPo, A White House aide picked a fight with Melania Trump. The first lady won.
A transoceanic personnel crisis that engulfed the National Security Council this week is partly rooted in a bureaucratic dispute over the seating arrangement aboard first lady Melania Trump’s plane to Africa last month during her maiden solo trip abroad.
...
Soon after the first lady’s office issued its statement Tuesday, surprised senior White House aides walked to Ricardel’s office to see if she was still there. She was, albeit confused.

Bolton, who was awoken in Asia in the middle of the night and told of the dust up, was soon on the phone, telling Ricardel to stay at her desk, three administration officials said.

The White House was trying to find a soft landing place for Ricardel, but agencies including the Commerce Department, where she worked in the first year of the Trump administration, are hesitant to take her on because of her reputation, two senior administration officials said.
...
Melania Trump and Ricardel have never met, according to people familiar with each of them. But the first lady viewed the conservative operative, who was among the most senior women in the West Wing, as a toxic influence within the White House, to the point that she spoke to Trump about Ricardel and authorized others to spread the word that Ricardel had overstepped following the Africa trip, several people familiar with recent events said.

A senior White House official said the first lady believed that Ricardel was spreading false rumors about her office, including a misleading story that aides had arranged a $10,000 hotel stay in Egypt. Other White House aides said Ricardel belittled underlings, yelled at professional staff and was the most disliked aide in the West Wing.
Pickin' seats in the air plane / I fought the FLOTUS and the FLOTUS won

Anyway, I guess having people wander the government looking for an agency willing to take them in is something we do now.
posted by zachlipton at 5:35 PM on November 14 [11 favorites]


The Republican Party has a woman problem

I think that's supposed to be the other way around.


Problem woman ‘A’ has party: Republican, the?
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:37 PM on November 14 [17 favorites]


Maxine Waters and Adam Schiff publicly backing Pelosi.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:40 PM on November 14 [41 favorites]


Lacy Clay MO-1 (my rep) has been vocal about supporting her, too. I'm with him on it.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:44 PM on November 14 [7 favorites]


Gabriel Sherman's Vanity Fair article makes this a trifecta of Trump White House aide leaks: “Insanity,” “Furious,” “On His Own”: Trump’s Post-Midterms Blues Are Vexing His Staff And Roiling The White House—He’s lashing out at aides and press and foreign leaders, and threatening to roll West Wing heads—but at least he didn’t get his hair wet at the Belleau Wood memorial.
As Donald Trump’s West Wing careens through one of the most turbulent weeks of his presidency, White House officials are struggling to understand the source of the fury fueling the president’s eruptions. “This is a level of insanity I’ve never seen before,” one former West Wing staffer told me. Current and former officials are debating different theories for Trump’s outbursts, ranging from his fears over his son Don Jr.’s legal exposure to the prospect that House Democrats will unleash investigations in January. “He’s under a tremendous amount of mental stress,” one prominent Republican close to him told me.

What’s surprising to some advisers about how bad the past week has been is that Trump initially seemed to take the midterm losses in stride. Last Tuesday, he was in high spirits as he watched election returns come in with about a hundred friends at the White House. Trump told people that his barnstorming rally schedule had mobilized his base and held Republican losses to historical lows, while increasing Republican gains in the Senate. “He really thought he won the midterms,” a prominent Republican who spoke with Trump said.

But by Wednesday, after hours of commentary about the suburbs’ distaste for him and with seat after undecided House seat slipping toward the Democrats, his mood slid, too, hitting bottom in a bizarre and combative press conference. “He was furious about the narrative. He said, ‘Look, I went to all these states and now people are saying Trump lost the election,’” the Republican who spoke with him recalled. Within hours, Trump forced out Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with Matt Whitaker, who’d been a frequent cable-news critic of the Robert Mueller investigation. Next, Trump directed his press office to revoke CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass, something he’d wanted to do for months but had been talked out of by aides. “This is a matter of the president now being on his own without any countervailing force whatsoever,” a person close to Trump said. “It’s just 100 percent Donald Trump doing what Donald Trump wants.”
All we need now is a new dub of that scene from Der Untergang.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:11 PM on November 14 [22 favorites]


Regarding Avenatti I'd be happy if people held off on "always knew he was scum" takes unless there's some key evidence I didn't know about that had indicated anything beyond conventional white-man assholishness (which certainly bleeds into abusiveness, I admit this is complicated stuff).

(Also, the facts are still unfolding. Thus far the situation is reminiscent of when Mueller got accused, including "Surefire Intelligence" claiming a role, except actual police have involved themselves. I definitely believe the accuser by default here, but that assumes one actually exists; I seriously wouldn't put it past some inept officer, in today's political environment, to take cues from Jacob Wohl or similar even when making an arrest. To add clarity: It's not his wife, and hence the statement from his wife does not contradict or exonerate.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:20 PM on November 14 [14 favorites]


Escalate and distract.
Trump warns antifa: Opposition to you could be tougher and ‘much more violent’.
posted by adamvasco at 6:26 PM on November 14 [13 favorites]


That’s ... the President inciting violence against his fellow citizens. There’s no other (remotely reasonable) way to read that.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:28 PM on November 14 [67 favorites]


More excavation of the Acting Attorney General's shady past from the Washington Post: ‘He Was Yelling’: Whitaker Pushed Back Against Early Fraud Complaints About Company He Advised
As a member of the company’s advisory board, Whitaker had been told of complaints about the company’s practices, according to two people familiar with the FTC investigation. He did not appear to take any action in response, they said.

In addition, shortly after joining the board in late 2014, Whitaker, a former U.S. attorney in Iowa, personally intervened when a for-profit consumer complaint website posted comments critical of the company.

Ed Magedson, the founder of the Arizona-based Ripoff Report, said he received a phone call from Whitaker in early 2015 after the website posted complaints about World Patent Marketing.

“He threatened me, using foul language,” said Magedson, whose website sells companies a program to improve their reputation among consumers. “He threatened to sue and to ruin my business if I did not remove the ‘false reports.’ ”

At one point, Whitaker said he would refer Ripoff Report to the Department of Homeland Security, Magedson said.
Naturally this kind of person gravitates to Trump's inner orbit.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:32 PM on November 14 [17 favorites]


Let me guess, the president has never been more isolated.
posted by The Whelk at 6:41 PM on November 14 [60 favorites]


Trump warns antifa: Opposition to you could be tougher and ‘much more violent’.

That’s ... the President inciting violence against his fellow citizens.

He also, during that interview, clarified that the "opposition" he speaks of includes the police and, critically, the military. He's saying that a force that he is personally the commander of could get much more violent against these American citizens. That's not just exhortation to violence, it's a direct threat that he might order the deaths of Americans, explicitly for the crime of resisting fascism. It doesn't really get any plainer than that.
posted by IAmUnaware at 6:43 PM on November 14 [67 favorites]


Rebirth of a Nation: Can states’ rights save us from a second civil war?
Progressives’ negative reaction to the words “states’ rights” was formed before the Civil War and reinforced during the Jim Crow era, but there’s a long tradition of progressives using the Tenth Amendment as a political tool, most notably, and successfully, in the 1850s, to resist the Fugitive Slave Act. Many Northern states abolished slavery decades before the Civil War. Wisconsin pioneered unemployment insurance for its residents twenty-four years before the federal government; Wyoming allowed women to vote in 1864, more than fifty years before the Nineteenth Amendment enacted suffrage nationwide.

The modern incarnation of this strategy, which one of its chief theorists, the Yale Law School professor Heather Gerken, calls “new progressive federalism,” has its origins in President George W. Bush’s reelection in 2004, when Republicans took control of all three branches of government. Gerken hoped a states’-rights strategy would serve as a counterweight to Republicans’ control of Washington, and that passing progressive legislation at the state level would be a way for “national minorities” to “constitute local majorities.” Since then, most major progressive reforms have been incubated and become law at the state level—commonsense gun control, tackling climate change, ensuring ­LGBTQ rights, marijuana decriminalization.

Citizens uninterested in living in Trump world should look to the recent heartening developments in California, Oregon, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, and Washington State: local legislators taking on federal power in ways that have proved far more effective than rallies or federal legislative efforts at stalling or presenting alternatives to the Trump Administration’s agenda. The era when the federal government was a progressive force against reactionary states such as Alabama and Mississippi is dead, and progressive change is now flowing from the states, not from Washington.
posted by homunculus at 6:43 PM on November 14 [12 favorites]


Montana Judge: Neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin Can’t Hide Behind First Amendment

Beyond the immediate relevance, it's an interesting case that gets into some important issues about the legal responsibility you hold for inciting a troll storm. Here's the court order adopting the magistrate judge's recommendation and denying the motion to dismiss.

One interesting feature of the ruling is that it straight up called Richard Spencer a "white supremacist."
posted by zachlipton at 6:51 PM on November 14 [27 favorites]


My kingdom for a dumb Vox explainer on Tim Ryan. Does he have a particularly good press team? Is he known for drinking, John McCain-style, with reporters? Is he especially popular with his colleagues? With fundraisers? With the party membership? Who is this guy? He gets a lot of "rising star" language in news stories, and I just don't see it. I remember he challenged Pelosi for leadership after the last election. I remember he waffled, publicly and embarrassingly, on the Republican tax cut for billionaires (ultimately voting against it when the bill was predictably awful). A quick Google search tells me that he worked for Jim Traficant, was squishy on abortion rights, and has very recently decided that the NRA is not great. He's a bit to the right of Obama and HRC -- and in 2018, that's way to the right of the Democratic caucus.

I understand he's not putting himself forward again as a challenger, but is it plausible to think he could be kingmaker for the next leader? Or president? Even by "beltway media's latest centrist crush" standards, this strength of this guy's media presence makes no sense to me.
posted by grandiloquiet at 6:51 PM on November 14 [9 favorites]


@johnastoehr: 1. Something happened at the Capitol Tuesday to reaffirm my long-held view that liberals should stop believing what conservatives say liberals believe.
2. One of the biggest obstacles in the history of American liberalism has been this tendency among liberals to accept as true things liberalism’s enemies say about it and them.
3. Newly elected members of the US Congress arrived for orientation. @Ocasio2018 spoke at a sit-in featuring about 200 people outside Nancy Pelosi’s office.
4. The “protest,” as it was called, was organized by an advocacy group aiming to raise awareness about climate change and to advocate for more green-energy jobs.
5. This was manna to Ocasio-Cortez, who made history as the youngest woman ever elected to Congress after unseating US Rep. Joe Crowley, the former No. 3 in the House Democratic leadership.
6. The 29-year-old Latina has been stumping for liberal candidates across the country, making liberal arguments in unapologetically liberal ways. That she spoke with activists demanding action from leading liberals should have come as no surprise to anyone any time anywhere.
7. But then came this bit of disinformation from the spokeswoman of Paul Ryan to Capitol Hill reporters, which set the tone for the entire day: "Huh, well this is unconventional," AshLee Strong wrote in an email. "The incoming speaker is getting protested by one of her freshman."
8. From this point onward, Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t doing what a young dynamic liberal legislator does. No, no, no! She was “protesting” Pelosi!
9. AshLee Strong paved the way for every Capitol Hill reporter to tell a story they had been wanting to tell even though the narrative” was based on a falsehood: that this unruly mob can’t be controlled.
[...]
posted by scalefree at 6:57 PM on November 14 [77 favorites]


Esquire, An Exhaustive Timeline of Our New Acting Attorney General's Astoundingly Crooked Career, in which the Acting Attorney General has been murdered in a correction:
An earlier version of this article referred to Whitaker as a football "star." With 200 yards and two touchdowns in three seasons at Iowa, it appears he was an unspectacular player. We regret the error.
posted by zachlipton at 7:28 PM on November 14 [103 favorites]




- The “protest,” as it was called

There were hundreds of activists staging a sit-in, occupying the hallway and handing Pelosi's staff letters demanding climate action - which was followed by 51 arrests; how are protests defined today?

I'm serious - is 'demonstration' a better description for Tuesday's event? Sunrise (the group who organized the event) refer to it as an 'action' on Facebook, is that the term which should have been used by the media?
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:48 PM on November 14 [2 favorites]


manifestation.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:55 PM on November 14 [5 favorites]


Hundreds of activists blocking a hallway and demanding political action can pretty reasonably be called a “protest” I think. “Demonstration” might be a more friendly word for it. “Action” is exceptionally vague and I think most news editors, at least, would ask for a stronger, more descriptive word.
posted by Mothlight at 7:59 PM on November 14 [2 favorites]


manifestation

Funciona bastante bien en español
posted by chappell, ambrose at 8:02 PM on November 14 [5 favorites]


I am so surprised that this first might happen to the first woman party leader.

Jonathan Allen (NBC):
Here’s your historic first: If Dems sack Pelosi, it will be the first time a minority leader won re-election while leading the party to winning control of the House and was not made speaker.
posted by chris24 at 8:09 PM on November 14 [27 favorites]


Today we learned Chuck Schumer helped Facebook attack its critics with antisemitic fake news on top of losing two straight elections, largely with his own handpicked Senate candidates, espeically in the disastrous 2016 cycle, on top of being a feckless leader who's repeated capitulated to Trump's judges for no real reason, and we're talking about firing Pelosi.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:17 PM on November 14 [67 favorites]


It also tapped its business relationships, persuading [the ADL] to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic.

Per the article, the incident in question appears to be a response to an image showing known Jew Zuckerberg as an octopus encircling the globe, which, yeah sorry. Don't fucking do that. I'm sure you can flesh out why Facebook is awful without covering for anti-Semitic tropes.
posted by Behemoth at 8:19 PM on November 14 [7 favorites]




This Country Has a Violent White-Nationalist Problem. If it had a real president, he'd get on television and denounce it.
The mass murder in Pittsburgh briefly threw light on the armed and dangerous right-wing underground that journalists like Dave Neiwert and JJ McNab have been warning us about for decades. But that event itself already has begun the long drop to the bottom of the news cycle, so I imagine the larger issues involved in the shooting already are down there waiting for it.

But the fact remains that mainstream conservatism—and the Republican Party, which is its national political vehicle—has been playing footsie with these lunatics since the 1970s. While Republican senators are not out in the woods in camp, shooting up the landscape, prominent Republicans have been giving speeches to the more respectable political cover groups—the League of the South, the Wise Use movement—for years.

Now, though, they have a president* who, at the very least, throws them a juicy rhetorical bone every couple of months, and a fairly well defanged Justice Department headed, at the moment, by a guy who not long ago was scamming people with toilets designed for people with big dicks.

(Note to self: Escape timeline immediately. Find me the portal to the Atavachron.)

If we had a president who was genuinely concerned with the general welfare, as defined in the document to which he swore an oath a couple of years ago, we would have a speech on television denouncing white-nationalist violence for the authentic threat that it is. Instead, we have a president* who makes policy based on the mind of Brian Kilmeade and the political acumen of Steve Bannon, and who likes to refer to these people as "my base."
posted by homunculus at 8:44 PM on November 14 [20 favorites]


Cortez-Masto to be named DSCC chair.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:16 PM on November 14 [6 favorites]


zachlipton: "What Tim Ryan has not managed to produce is an actual candidate to be Speaker instead, though they're big on Marcia Fudge."

Matt Fuller:
I will note that Marcia Fudge is one of two Democratic members who refuses to cosponsor the Equality Act, which would extend civil rights protections to sexual orientation and gender identity. (The other is Dan Lipinski.)
posted by Chrysostom at 9:20 PM on November 14 [21 favorites]


That octopus thing reminds me of this NRO mission patch, which seems fairly apt re. Facebook.

OTOH, this cartoon from 2014 doesn't try to disguise the artist's antisemitism even a little.

Do octopuses in particular have some antisemitic history? (I am aware of the world-circling theme.)
posted by ryanrs at 9:25 PM on November 14 [1 favorite]


That's "@crookedmedia's token Republican" Tim Miller.

Update: a statement from Crooked Media, ending with: "In short, "we need to get to the bottom of Tim's involvement in this work, and he won't be contributing more to Crooked in the meantime."
posted by zachlipton at 9:43 PM on November 14 [8 favorites]


Nationalized as an arms-length agency, no?

This is probably the wrong administration for carrying that out.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:44 PM on November 14 [3 favorites]


Marcia Fudge ... Democratic members who refuses to cosponsor the Equality Act,

Equality Act.

How many times has Nancy Pelosi embarrassed Tim Ryan already?
posted by notyou at 9:53 PM on November 14 [7 favorites]






If we had a president who was genuinely concerned with the general welfare, as defined in the document to which he swore an oath a couple of years ago, we would have a speech on television denouncing white-nationalist violence for the authentic threat that it is. Instead, we have a president* who makes policy based on the mind of Brian Kilmeade and the political acumen of Steve Bannon, and who likes to refer to these people as "my base."

We had a president just recently who (despite his imperalist flaws) was deeply commited to anti-racism before his presidency. Early on he responded to a police officer arresting a man because of his skin color who was trying to get into his own house, and said president mildly chided the arresting officer (again: arresting a man trying to get into his own house) rightly as "acting stupidly", and set off a weeks long controversy. For the record you could switch around some skin colors and some time periods, and use that as the b-plot for Barney Fife on an episode of The Andy Griffith Show.

I guess what I'm saying is that America doesn't have a president problem, any more than a gunshot wound has a blood problem - one is just merely the surface evidence that the other exists. The gunshot in this case is a deeply sick, white supremacist and patriarchal ideology that's been ignored by everyone in power since... uh, forever, because white supremacy and patriarchy tend to buy complacency with crumbs of power.
posted by codacorolla at 10:33 PM on November 14 [41 favorites]


So, having performed in my high school‘s production of fiddler on the roof, I followed the link to the Baltimore Sun above. I viewed a series of videos on that site. One of the segments— I watched several in succession — was a speech by Elijah Cummings and it was amazing. I don’t know much about Maryland or Baltimore aside from Edgar Allan Poe, And having trouble finding a direct link, but I am primed to pay attention.
posted by maniabug at 11:02 PM on November 14 [4 favorites]


Do octopuses in particular have some antisemitic history?

Yes, they do, for the same reasoning.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:52 AM on November 15


Cf. this WWII-era exhibit. There are plenty of other examples. I can’t speak to the other aspects of the Facebook saga, but yeah. This imagery is not okay in this context.
posted by Brak at 1:18 AM on November 15 [1 favorite]


Do octopuses in particular have some antisemitic history?
The octopus metaphor has been used since the 18th century to symbolize any entity or person accused of having some kind of tentacular, global-reaching power: this collection includes Russia, the British Empire, the USA, Stalin, Prussia, Germany, Communism, Japan, JD Rockefeller, Stalin, Churchill (in both antisemitic and non-antisemitic variants), and capitalism/finance/wealth (also in both antisemitic and non-antisemitic variants). It's also been used to describe Catholic clergy, Freemasons, the Mafia and even used against racism and antisemitism. So while the octopus metaphor does have an antisemitic history, using it was not, until recently, specifically antisemitic. However, many contemporary uses of the trope, particularly in the Arab media (for instance here and here) do focus on the Jews and Israel, and the Zuckerberg cartoon has definitely antisemitic tones.
posted by elgilito at 2:18 AM on November 15 [30 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump receives a 100% chance of authenticity rating from the Trump or Not Bot this morning: "The White House is running very smoothly and the results for our Nation are obviously very good. We are the envy of the world. But anytime I even think about making changes, the FAKE NEWS MEDIA goes crazy, always seeking to make us look as bad as possible! Very dishonest!"

But this next pair merits only 73%/97% (though the projection going on here puts this in the Trump's Mirror hall of fame): "The inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess. They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts. They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want. They are a disgrace to our Nation and don’t..." "....care how many lives the ruin. These are Angry People, including the highly conflicted Bob Mueller, who worked for Obama for 8 years. They won’t even look at all of the bad acts and crimes on the other side. A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY!"

Buckle up, folks, today is going to be rough.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:39 AM on November 15 [30 favorites]


Well, I already was nervous about counter protesting the proud boys this weekend here in philly. Good to know that the fash police (redundant) here will know they have the full support of the president to hurt me and my comrades. Yeesh.
posted by lazaruslong at 4:45 AM on November 15 [13 favorites]


Sounds like Stone was on the blower crying to Trump about his upcoming indictment.
posted by PenDevil at 4:50 AM on November 15 [8 favorites]


Indictments. Indictments. Indictments. Indictments. Indictments. Indictments. Indictments.


I-I-I wanna know ... Have you ever seeeeen the raiiin ...
posted by petebest at 4:55 AM on November 15 [11 favorites]


So you know how some kinds of animals can recognize themselves in a mirror but others can't?
posted by scalefree at 5:01 AM on November 15 [19 favorites]




The New Republic has a piece up that essentially re-covers the NYT story about Facebook from yesterday. Congressional testimony, octopi, etc. It's entitled, Facebook Betrayed America, and among the items was this:

The Times piece reveals Facebook executives and lobbyists’ campaign of deflection. They pushed the intelligence community not to challenge the company’s response to Russian interference and worked media organizations to push negative stories about the privacy failings of their competitors, such as Google and Apple. Executives berated employees for investigating Russian interference, with Sandberg telling them it “exposed the company legally.”

I mean, of course it did, but still. Not a good look. It concludes:

The depth of Zuckerberg’s insincerity is all too clear: He’s only interested in doing the bare minimum, and his company has proven incapable of self-regulation. Congress was slow to realize as much back in April, but it no longer has any excuse for not bringing the full weight of the law against one of America’s most arrogant, unaccountable monopolies.

Also of note, I'd forgotten the scrap about TNR w/r/t Facebook co-founder Hughes purchasing the magazine as a new toy, rousting people and giving up shortly thereafter.
posted by petebest at 5:22 AM on November 15 [6 favorites]


In Change Of Tune, Mattis Now Labeling Border Mission ‘Very Good Training’ (emphasis mine)
In his most extensive remarks about the hastily arranged border mission, Mattis argued that it fits an historical pattern dating to early in the 20th century. He noted that President Woodrow Wilson deployed tens of thousands of National Guard and active duty troops to the border in 1916 in response to a Mexican military raid into the U.S.

“That’s over a century ago, and the threat then was Pancho Villa’s troops — revolutionary raiding across the border into the United States,” he said.
[...]
“The eyes of the world right now — certainly all of the Americans — are on you,” Mattis told the soldiers, adding that they are part of a “non-traditional” mission. “We’re here because of the number of illegals who say they are going to illegally try to cross into our country,” he said, apparently referring to the several thousand migrants moving north through Mexico.
A man who has personally and directly commanded troops to commit war crimes against civilians is using blatantly racist and dehumanizing terms against civilians not anywhere close to a war zone. And on top of that, he's characterizing those civilians, who are unarmed and starving, as equivalent to a military force from over a century ago from a completely different country.

Tell me again how Mattis is the "good guy" in this administration?
posted by zombieflanders at 5:27 AM on November 15 [36 favorites]


He noted that President Woodrow Wilson deployed tens of thousands of National Guard and active duty troops to the border in 1916 in response to a Mexican military raid into the U.S.

We need a word for "ONE SECRET TRICK", which is the staple of the Sov-Cit gold-fringed flag crowd, because it seems like someone heard Wilson sending troops to the border, but didn't read up on subsequently Villa evading 5000 troops of the US Army riding through sovereign Mexico until they had to give up looking because WWI started.

Because without the context, you're NOT drawing the right conclusion.

See Also: Trump Admin belief that the more specific AG succession act can be superseded by the general vacancies act, because there is a vacancy act, and they're nitwits.
posted by mikelieman at 5:38 AM on November 15 [13 favorites]


"The White House is running very smoothly and the results for our Nation are obviously very good. "

You never go full Baghdad Bob.
posted by thelonius at 5:57 AM on November 15 [27 favorites]


I already deleted my fb account back in like January due to rage @ Zuck around the CA scandal. Yesterday's revelations that FB hired a PR firm to push anti-Semitic conspiracy theories has me so fucking angry. It's a small thing, but I'm deleting my instagram account now too. Bummer because I like keeping up with my sister there. Guess I'll just have to text her photos from this Saturday's #pushback rally against the Proud Boys et al.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:09 AM on November 15 [16 favorites]


Funny how Trump installs his lackey over Mueller last week and now he's yapping about the supposed inner workings of the investigation.
posted by chris24 at 6:13 AM on November 15 [33 favorites]


Tell me again how Mattis is the "good guy" in this administration?

Only by comparison.
posted by GrammarMoses at 6:35 AM on November 15 [1 favorite]


My kingdom for a dumb Vox explainer on Tim Ryan.

I think most of it is that he's sort of the Platonic Ideal Dem politician for people who developed their understanding of the political landscape in the late 20th century - a group which would include a ton of media figures, professional political staff & consultants, and current politicians (including Tim Ryan himself.) He's 45 with 8 (I think) terms in the House under his belt, so he's no babe in the woods, but still young enough to contrast himself with the 65-70-year olds currently dominating our politics. Raised Catholic by a single mom, played football in high school and college, has done a ton of work supporting vets (all total "mainstream centrist Dem" stuff), but "progressive/hippy-dippy/millennial-friendly" enough to have written a book on mindfulness and another book on how factory farming is terrible and how eating locally from small family farms is the way to go. (Side note: I don't mean that mindfulness or locavore practices are intrinsically weird hippy stuff or pandering to "spoiled" millennials, but that's definitely how they're perceived by a bunch of people, cf. one million previous threads on Metafilter.) He was openly and heatedly critical of the Bush administration.

And he keeps getting elected from a heavily blue-collar district in a supposedly crucial swing state. I dunno if he's got the same charisma, but he's kind of the Gen-X Bill Clinton - transport him as he is back in time to '98/'99 and you could easily imagine him beating George W.

So add it all up and you could see how he would check all the boxes for people considering politicians from a certain perspective, and I would not be at all surprised if he starts taking a run at the Presidency from 2024 onwards. Which means currently he's angling for more power and influence within the existing Dem power structure.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:35 AM on November 15 [15 favorites]


The inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess.


Does this, in any way, sound like anything remotely descriptive of reality? If anyone in the world, outside of Seal Team Six, could be described as running an excruciatingly tight operation, it has to be Bob Mueller.

I honestly can’t remember a single leak, errant statement, flurried media attention grab, or even an askant word from him or anyone associated with him that would indicate the slightest hint of disarray. It’s a textbook case of probity and discipline.
posted by darkstar at 6:36 AM on November 15 [39 favorites]


I don't know how many times it needs to be proved to me that Zuckerberg is the world's worst human being. The Soros thing is just... evil. That's not the work of a "PR" firm. The fake news? It's coming from inside the house.

I read an article on how tech execs love Harrari, author of Sapiens, recently, and Zuckerberg was quoted at some point as saying something like "Julius Ceasar wasn't democratic, but he brought two hundred years of peace by being a strong authoritarian leader". What?! Seriously?
posted by xammerboy at 6:40 AM on November 15 [29 favorites]


It's Trump's mirror. He heard that Mueller was making progress and getting people to turn. The only way he [Trump] can do that is with bluster and shouting, so he assumes everyone else most operate the same way.

It's been amply shown over the past few years that when he doesn't know what he's talking about he falls back on assumptions based on his own recent experience. In this case, shouting, infighting, and corruption.
posted by wierdo at 6:41 AM on November 15 [16 favorites]


They make a desert and call it peace.
posted by whuppy at 6:42 AM on November 15 [9 favorites]




I read an article on how tech execs love Harrari, author of Sapiens, recently, and Zuckerberg was quoted at some point as saying something like "Julius Ceasar wasn't democratic, but he brought two hundred years of peace by being a strong authoritarian leader". What?! Seriously?

Augustus Caesar, which makes more internal sense but is still, you know, profoundly anti-democratic.

The New Yorker / Evan Osnos, Sept. 2018: Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy?
Zuckerberg told me, “You have all these good and bad and complex figures. I think Augustus is one of the most fascinating. Basically, through a really harsh approach, he established two hundred years of world peace.” For non-classics majors: Augustus Caesar, born in 63 B.C., staked his claim to power at the age of eighteen and turned Rome from a republic into an empire by conquering Egypt, northern Spain, and large parts of central Europe. He also eliminated political opponents, banished his daughter for promiscuity, and was suspected of arranging the execution of his grandson.

“What are the trade-offs in that?” Zuckerberg said, growing animated. “On the one hand, world peace is a long-term goal that people talk about today. Two hundred years feels unattainable.” On the other hand, he said, “that didn’t come for free, and he had to do certain things.” In 2012, Zuckerberg and Chan spent their honeymoon in Rome. He later said, “My wife was making fun of me, saying she thought there were three people on the honeymoon: me, her, and Augustus. All the photos were different sculptures of Augustus.” The couple named their second daughter August.
It should go without saying, but probably does need to be said, that the Augustian-inspired Pax Romana did not, in point of fact, cause 'world peace,' although parsing out the details out that is best left to another thread.
posted by cjelli at 6:48 AM on November 15 [37 favorites]


"The White House is running very smoothly and the results for our Nation are obviously very good. "

You never go full Baghdad Bob.


His very good brain seems run along the very same tracks over and over.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:51 AM on November 15


Only by comparison.

My point is that it's not even by comparison. He's just as bigoted, just as violent, and just as willing as any other dignity wraith to goose-step when Dear Leader asks.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:52 AM on November 15 [2 favorites]


I'm not saying the increment is large.
posted by GrammarMoses at 6:57 AM on November 15 [5 favorites]


Ah, very true.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:08 AM on November 15 [1 favorite]


The Planet Money podcast by NPR has a new episode out this week:
Episode 876: Patent Deception

World Patent Marketing's pitch to inventors was simple: Pay us lots of money, and we'll take care of the complicated patent office details. Hundreds of tinkerers and would-be visionaries took this deal.

After all, the patent system is complicated. Marketing is tricky. It can be hard to find factories. But, for new inventors, it's hard to tell a legitimate service from a scam. It was especially hard to tell with World Patent Marketing, which boasted an advisory board that included Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.

If you want more, check out this piece in the Miami New Times, by Brittany Shammas, who joins us on this week's show.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 7:15 AM on November 15 [8 favorites]


But by Wednesday, after hours of commentary about the suburbs’ distaste for him and with seat after undecided House seat slipping toward the Democrats, his mood slid, too, hitting bottom in a bizarre and combative press conference. “He was furious about the narrative. He said, ‘Look, I went to all these states and now people are saying Trump lost the election,’” the Republican who spoke with him recalled. Within hours, Trump forced out Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with Matt Whitaker, who’d been a frequent cable-news critic of the Robert Mueller investigation. Next, Trump directed his press office to revoke CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass, something he’d wanted to do for months but had been talked out of by aides. “This is a matter of the president now being on his own without any countervailing force whatsoever,” a person close to Trump said. “It’s just 100 percent Donald Trump doing what Donald Trump wants.”

So many echoes of history

"There's a man alone, without family, without children, without God ... He builds legions, but he doesn't build a nation. A nation is created by families, a religion, traditions: it is made up out of the hearts of mothers, the wisdom of fathers, the joy and the exuberance of children ... For a few months I was inclined to believe in National Socialism. I thought of it as a necessary fever. And I was gratified to see that there were, associated with it for a time, some of the wisest and most outstanding Germans. But these, one by one, he has got rid of or even killed ... He has left nothing but a bunch of shirted gangsters! This man could bring home victories to our people each year, without bringing them either glory or danger. But of our Germany, which was a nation of poets and musicians, of artists and soldiers, he has made a nation of hysterics and hermits, engulfed in a mob and led by a thousand liars or fanatics. ― ex Kaiser Wilhelm on Hitler, December 1938.
posted by srboisvert at 7:20 AM on November 15 [57 favorites]


“What are the trade-offs in that?” Zuckerberg said, growing animated.
Well, errr . . millions of people in slavery for one, jackass.
posted by Harry Caul at 7:36 AM on November 15 [22 favorites]


TPM:
In his most extensive remarks about the hastily arranged border mission, Mattis argued that it fits an historical pattern dating to early in the 20th century. He noted that President Woodrow Wilson deployed tens of thousands of National Guard and active duty troops to the border in 1916 in response to a Mexican military raid into the U.S.

“That’s over a century ago, and the threat then was Pancho Villa’s troops — revolutionary raiding across the border into the United States,” he said.

One soldier asked Mattis what are the short- and long-term plans for the military mission.

Mattis said the short-term objective is to get sufficient numbers of wire and other barriers in place along the border as requested by Customs and Border Protection. The longer-term objective, he said, is “somewhat to be determined.”

“When you’re in something like this,” Mattis said, “it’s dynamic, it’s unpredictable. We’ll have to see.”
Pancho Villa Expedition (WP):
The Pancho Villa Expedition—now known officially in the United States as the Mexican Expedition,[6] but originally referred to as the "Punitive Expedition, U.S. Army"[1]—was a military operation conducted by the United States Army against the paramilitary forces of Mexican revolutionary Francisco "Pancho" Villa from March 14, 1916, to February 7, 1917, during the Mexican Revolution of 1910–1920.

The expedition was launched in retaliation for Villa's attack on the town of Columbus, New Mexico, and was the most remembered event of the Border War. The declared objective of the expedition by the Wilson administration was the capture of Villa.[7] Despite successfully locating and defeating the main body of Villa's command, responsible for the raid on Columbus, U.S. forces were unable to achieve Wilson's stated main objective of preventing Villa's escape.

"I've had about enough of this" — Cartoon by Clifford Berryman reflects American attitudes about the expedition.
You've got to keep an eye on those early 20th Century historical patterns, all right.
posted by cenoxo at 7:37 AM on November 15 [10 favorites]


@AdamSerwer: Things that can be inferred from this stenographic interview from the Daily Caller...

Other things that don't need to be inferred, things that Trump just comes out and says: Whitaker is there to end the Mueller investigation.

Like with the Comey firing and Lester Holt interview, Trump can't help but incriminate himself. Brings Mueller up unsolicited when asked about Whitaker.
THE DAILY CALLER: Sure. Could you tell us where your thinking is currently on the attorney general position? I know you’re happy with Matthew Whitaker, do you have any names? Chris Christie —

POTUS: Matthew Whitaker is a very respected man. He’s — and he’s, very importantly, he’s respected within DOJ. I heard he got a very good decision, I haven’t seen it. Kellyanne, did I hear that?

WHITE HOUSE ADVISER KELLYANNE CONWAY: 20 pages.

POTUS: A 20-page?

THE DAILY CALLER: It just came out right before this, sir.

POTUS: Well, I heard it was a very strong opinion. Uh, which is good. But [Whitaker] is just somebody that’s very respected.

I knew him only as he pertained, you know, as he was with Jeff Sessions. And, you know, look, as far as I’m concerned this is an investigation that should have never been brought. It should have never been had.

It’s something that should have never been brought. It’s an illegal investigation. And you know, it’s very interesting because when you talk about not Senate confirmed, well, Mueller’s not Senate confirmed.


THE DAILY CALLER: Right.

POTUS: He’s heading this whole big thing, he’s not Senate confirmed.

So anyway, I have a lot of respect for Matt Whitaker, based primarily on reputation. And I think he’s really — I think a lot of people are starting to come out very much in favor of him during this period of time.
posted by chris24 at 8:00 AM on November 15 [13 favorites]


For more information about what exactly Caesar did that was so peaceful, you can check out the recent Hardcore History episode entitled "The Celtic Holocaust."
posted by fomhar at 8:05 AM on November 15 [20 favorites]


Daniel Dale's finished another fact-checking deep dive into Trump's lying record:
How much lying did Donald Trump do in the run-up to the midterms?

He made 815 false claims in one month. EIGHT HUNDRED FIFTEEN.

It took him 286 days to make his first 815 false claims. He just did it in 31.

Trump made more false claims in the two months leading up to the midterms, 1,176, than he did in all of 2017, 1,011.[...]

Trump made 664 false claims in October. That was more than double his previous record, 320 in August. He has now set new monthly records in June, July, August and October.[...]

Last data point: Trump averaged 26.3 false claims per day in the month leading up to the midterms. In 2017, it was 2.9 per day.
More in his article for the Toronto Star: 815 False Claims: The Staggering Scale of Donald Trump’s Pre-Midterm Dishonesty

Speaking of dishonesty, @realDonaldTrump continues this morning's Twitter tirade, ranting further about "Bob Mueller and his gang of Democrat thugs [...] protecting [...] Crooked Hillary [et al.]" and the Democrats' non-existent "“Collusion”" with Russia, then pivoting to lie about Facebook, Google, and Twitter are "biased" in favor of the Democrats. "That’s the real Collusion!" His rants obviously have a cathartic value for him, but he's also transmitting the party line to his faithful. Expect the rightwing noise machine to echo these talking points today, whether or not anything actually happens.

Anyway, he and Melania are scheduled to leave for a damage-control visit to the Marine Barracks before noon, so hopefully that's all the twittering Donald will have time for until the afternoon.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:05 AM on November 15 [28 favorites]


Perfect timing blaming "liberal" Facebook colluding with Dems the day after we discover they hired a rightwing PR firm to push anti-semitic/anti-Soros points and refused to make certain changes to reduce fake news, hate speech and foreign interference because they wanted to keep Republicans happy.
posted by chris24 at 8:11 AM on November 15 [17 favorites]


I already deleted my fb account back in like January due to rage @ Zuck around the CA scandal. Yesterday's revelations that FB hired a PR firm to push anti-Semitic conspiracy theories has me so fucking angry.

Yeah, this has been the final straw for me; I'm bailing out of Facebook. Turns out it's not as difficult or painful as I used to think only last week, once properly motivated. Signal for messaging. A WordPress blog. Maybe Mastodon, but it feels kind of intimidating and weird so far.

I'm still on Instagram but eyeing it with some suspicion.
posted by Foosnark at 8:16 AM on November 15 [10 favorites]


For more information about what exactly Caesar did that was so peaceful, you can check out the recent Hardcore History episode entitled "The Celtic Holocaust."

Which (absolutely to belabor this point) is about Julius Caesar , and not Augustus (Octavian) Caesar. Different people!
posted by cjelli at 8:16 AM on November 15 [15 favorites]


Trump made 664 false claims in October. That was more than double his previous record, 320 in August. He has now set new monthly records in June, July, August and October.[...]

It's like Moore's law, but for lies.
posted by mach at 8:20 AM on November 15 [26 favorites]


Augustus was just as bloodthirsty when it came to the Western Germanic tribes (i.e. not the Goths, who were Eastern Germanic and were still largely puttering around what is now Ukraine), although (a) he didn't achieve anything near what great-uncle Julius did, and (b) fucking with them had consequences for centuries to come.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:20 AM on November 15 [3 favorites]


My kingdom for a dumb Vox explainer on Tim Ryan. --- Raised Catholic by a single mom, played football in high school and college, has done a ton of work supporting vets (all total "mainstream centrist Dem" stuff), but "progressive/hippy-dippy/millennial-friendly" enough to have written a book on mindfulness and another book on how factory farming is terrible and how eating locally from small family farms is the way to go.

Matt Grossmann
Of 13 current members on anti-Pelosi list, 10 are to the right of the Democratic caucus median & 11 are to the right of Pelosi. Copying Freedom Caucus tactics, but not a revolt from the left. Capitulating to a centrist minority of caucus would have implications for the session.

Clara Jeffery (MoJo)
Retweeted Matt Grossmann
and 11 are white men


Matt Fuller (HuffPo)
New focus from anti-Pelosi members like Tim Ryan is pointing out the women in their group, like Marcia Fudge and Kathleen Rice.
Ryan and others pushing narrative that a woman should be Speaker, just not Pelosi.

Dorothy Fortenberry (writer on Handmaid's Tale)
Retweeted Matt Fuller
the return of America's most popular female politician: A Woman, Just Not That Woman
posted by chris24 at 8:21 AM on November 15 [113 favorites]


Augustus was just as bloodthirsty

For sure. But if we're going to criticize Zuckerberg for fawning over a Roman dictator who was a-ok with extra-judicial murder and warmongering, we should at least criticize him for fawning over the right Roman dictator who was a-ok with extra-judicial murder and warmongering.
posted by cjelli at 8:22 AM on November 15 [12 favorites]


Tim Ryan got some buzz in 2006/7for a couple of impassioned speeches denouncing George W. Bush and the Iraq War.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:26 AM on November 15 [1 favorite]


Trump's mind is like an old pickup truck stuck in a ditch on a muddy road, spinning its wheels as it digs grooves deeper & deeper.

Matthew Whitaker is a very respected man.
He’s — and he’s, very importantly, he’s respected within DOJ.
But [Whitaker] is just somebody that’s very respected.
So anyway, I have a lot of respect for Matt Whitaker, based primarily on reputation.
And I think he’s really — I think a lot of people are starting to come out very much in favor of him during this period of time.
And you know, it’s very interesting because when you talk about not Senate confirmed, well, Mueller’s not Senate confirmed.
He’s heading this whole big thing, he’s not Senate confirmed.
And, you know, look, as far as I’m concerned this is an investigation that should have never been brought.
It should have never been had.
It’s something that should have never been brought.
It’s an illegal investigation.

posted by scalefree at 8:40 AM on November 15 [9 favorites]


Zuckerberg told me, “You have all these good and bad and complex figures. I think Augustus is one of the most fascinating. Basically, through a really harsh approach, he established two hundred years of world peace.”

lmao Zuck, we get it, you took "Rome of Augustus" (one of the most popular non-major history courses at Harvard). Stop trying to pretend you're well rounded.
posted by en forme de poire at 8:52 AM on November 15 [59 favorites]


Scott Lemieux, LGM: On the #FiveWhiteGuys Coup
My longstanding position on Nancy Pelosi as Speaker/Minority Leader has been:
  • She is an exceptionally good legislative leader.
  • There is no obvious replacement, and you’d be far more likely to do worse than better.
  • If I’m going to lose that, there had better be strong evidence of some real benefit.
  • Claims that Pelosi is a drag on the electoral chances of House candidates strike me as neither plausible on their face nor as far as I can tell supported by any actual evidence [and, after the 2018 wave, there isn’t even a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy to go with.]
  • So it makes no sense to replace her.
Also: if your "movement" isn't smart enough to recognize the need for at least a token non-white-guy so as to avoid being labeled #FiveWhiteGuys, I think that pretty much says all that needs to be said about how much of a strategic supergenius Tim Ryan and his fellow bros are.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:54 AM on November 15 [59 favorites]


[I cannot believe I am asking you folks to not relitigate Roman dynasties. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:54 AM on November 15 [283 favorites]


Et tu, metafilter?
posted by maxwelton at 8:58 AM on November 15 [92 favorites]


Were they ever really litigated in the first place?

Anyway, one thing I think has been under-discussed on Pelosi's leadership cred is the degree to which the incoming Dem committee chairs had their oversight plans locked and loaded as soon as it became clear that they would in fact be committee chairs. That's strong coordination and it's a credit to Pelosi and her team either for organizing it directly or letting it grow organically and not getting in the way, depending on how it arose in the first place.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:02 AM on November 15 [21 favorites]


[I cannot believe I am asking you folks to not relitigate Roman dynasties. ]

Have I mentioned lately how much I love this website?
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:03 AM on November 15 [93 favorites]


I think Pelosi hangs on. I also *hope* that she pledges just to be Speaker for this Congress, and they hash out a development/transition plan for the next Congress.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:04 AM on November 15 [10 favorites]


NBC News: White House weighs booting Erdogan foe from U.S. to appease Turkey
Trump administration officials last month asked federal law enforcement agencies to examine legal ways of removing exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen in an attempt to persuade Erdogan to ease pressure on the Saudi government, the four sources said.
...
Career officials at the agencies pushed back on the White House requests, the U.S. officials and people briefed on the requests said.
...
Justice Department officials responded to the White House's request saying the review of Turkey's case against Gulen two years ago showed no basis for his extradition and that no new evidence to justify it has emerged, the U.S. officials and others familiar with the requests said.

Trump administration officials then asked for other options to legally remove him, the U.S. officials and others said.

They said the White House specifically wanted details about the terms under which Gulen resides in the U.S. Officials from the law enforcement agencies informed the White House there is no evidence that Gulen has broken any U.S. laws, the U.S. officials and others familiar with the requests said.
...
Trump and Erdogan also recently discussed another option to relieve tensions — the release of Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who was sentenced in May to 32 months in prison by a U.S. federal judge for his role in a scheme to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran, two people familiar with the discussion said. Erdogan has criticized the case against Atilla as a political attack aimed at undermining his government.
This is absolutely outrageous on several levels.
posted by cjelli at 9:06 AM on November 15 [43 favorites]


That seems like the most likely outcome if she doesn't have the votes to just steamroll the insurgency.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:07 AM on November 15


Trump and Erdogan also recently discussed another option to relieve tensions — the release of Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who was sentenced in May to 32 months in prison by a U.S. federal judge for his role in a scheme to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran

I wonder what the Iran hawks in the administration think of this "idea".

Also, Rudy's involved with Atilla. Purely in a personal capacity, nothing to do with the administration, of course.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:11 AM on November 15 [4 favorites]


I wonder what the Iran hawks in the administration think of this "idea".

To expel and murder (by proxy) a Muslim leader living on American soil? I rather doubt they'll be leading the charge to stop it.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:19 AM on November 15 [3 favorites]


So we're gonna give Erdogan a dissident to kill to get him to stop bothering Saudi Arabia about the dissident they killed.

MAGA.
posted by chris24 at 9:24 AM on November 15 [39 favorites]


Yeah, this has been the final straw for me; I'm bailing out of Facebook. Turns out it's not as difficult or painful as I used to think only last week, once properly motivated. Signal for messaging. A WordPress blog. Maybe Mastodon, but it feels kind of intimidating and weird so far.

Hehe, same wavelength. I started a blog, and have been on mastodon for a while. The philly jawns.club is awesome. All are welcome, even if you aren’t in philly.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:25 AM on November 15 [2 favorites]


Does Michael Flynn still get $15M for Gullen's head or does that go straight into Trump's pocket now?
posted by gladly at 9:26 AM on November 15 [16 favorites]


NBC's Kyle Griffin is keeping track: Before this morning, Trump had only tweeted once about Mueller since mid-September. He's now tweeted today about Mueller and the investigation 3 times in 4 separate tweets.

Of course, the New York Times, having learned nothing about covering Trump, merely repeats his baseless accusations in their headline to Maggie Haberman's latest: Mueller Team Has ‘Gone Absolutely Nuts,’ Trump Says, Resuming Attacks on Russia Inquiry. Her article then prints Trump's tweets verbatim, without any corrective. This time, she doesn't even have a useful leak to pass on.

Meanwhile, the Special Counsel scored a victory in court against Concord Management and Evgeny "Putin's Chef" Prigozhin, Reuters reports: U.S. Judge Refuses Russian Firm's Bid To Dismiss Mueller Indictment

USA Today's Brad Heath notes, "Four district court judges have rejected five challenges to Mueller's appointment. The D.C. Cir. is considering one of them now, by a grand jury witness. Concord participated in the case as an amicus." Specifically, "One from Concord, three from Manafort (in the D.C. criminal case, the E.D. Va. criminal case and a civil suit), and one from Andrew Miller. Miller's is the one that's now on appeal."

And it seems yesterday a mystery client's lawyers filed a sealed 6,487-word brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals that points to a Miller vs. Mueller dispute (Politico).
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:32 AM on November 15 [8 favorites]


> For more information about what exactly Caesar did that was so peaceful, you can check out the recent Hardcore History episode entitled "The Celtic Holocaust."

Link. More.
posted by homunculus at 9:40 AM on November 15 [4 favorites]


Remember that viral town hall where a guy scorned his Congressman for trying to take away his wife's health insurance? That Congressman was Tom MacArthur, architect of the Obamacare repeal. He just lost reelection
posted by growabrain at 10:09 AM on November 15 [105 favorites]


"People just submitted it. I don't know why. They "trust me" Dumb fucks."
-->
"Basically, through a really harsh approach, he established two hundred years of world peace. What are the trade-offs in that? On the one hand, world peace is a long-term goal that people talk about today. Two hundred years feels unattainable. [On the other hand,] that didn’t come for free, and he had to do certain things."

This is what "growing up" means for these people. A lot of folks have this vague sense that when Zuckerberg puts on the suit and mumbles his poll-tested pap in Congress, it's not that he's a better person, but at least he's learned some basics about being a pragmatic businessman on the global stage, which provides at least some external moderation of what was originally a standard Harvard douche.

But while he has grown, this is what these psychopaths grow up into. They see the world as more nuanced now -- not just an indiscriminate pile of dumb fucks to be exploited, but a complex and seething mass that must be helped along via "trade-offs" and "certain things." We know what these trade-offs are: they are the same things despots everywhere believe need doing in order to civilize the world. It doesn't really matter what specifically Augustus or Julius did here, because the bigger question Zuckerberg is mulling is how to run and expand an empire, and how many gigatons of blood must regrettably be spilled now that (in his mind) he's growing up from a selfish bastard to a benevolent utilitarian.
posted by chortly at 10:12 AM on November 15 [40 favorites]


If You Can’t Beat Them, Bilk Them: The Market for Caravan Insurance

Economist Dean Baker suggests offering caravan insurance to fearful Fox News watchers as a way to get rich. For $300 a year, you would insure them against any harm they suffer at the hands of caravan refugees that enter the country.

Other ideas are Ebola insurance and MS-13 insurance. And then there is food stamp tax insurance. For $100 a year you would insure someone against the money the government takes from them in taxes for food stamps. Since the cost of food stamps is $50 per person per year, this is a real money maker. Make bigoted ignorance pay.

This is a guaranteed way to impoverish Republicans. Fox News provides the ignorance and fear and you run insurance ads on Fox News to take their money.

"If we can’t reach these people through reasoned argument, we can try a different route. We can try to reach them through their pocketbook."
posted by JackFlash at 10:15 AM on November 15 [73 favorites]


Economist Dean Baker suggests offering caravan insurance to fearful Fox News watchers as a way to get rich. For $300 a year, you would insure them against any harm they suffer at the hands of caravan refugees that enter the country.

I'd love to see this play out in practice and see if it actually worked. On the one hand it definitely could, for all the obvious reasons. On the other, I could see this being a little like the study (linked upthread?, pretty sure I saw it here), where conservatives would say Obama was born in Kenya in polls, but accurately identify Hawaii when money was on the line. Would they actually shell out for insurance? Or once they had a chance to would they say, nah, not really worth it, but I'm worried about what will happen to other people.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 10:24 AM on November 15 [9 favorites]


people do that (or did that) with pet insurance for the rapture. Specifically the promise was that a pet loving Jew or homosexual or similarly-condemned heathen in their well-vetted network would promise to take care of your beloved pet in the event that you are raptured up to Heaven before your pet dies.

I’m in favor, tbh, I’m just not sure about the regulations around insurance.

This is what "growing up" means for these people

Yeah, it cannot be stressed enough: Mark Zuckerberg has not stopped being a narcissist or a psychopath or whatever it was that made him a soulless piece of shit eager and willing to exploit the little people. He has just become more ambitious. He is a truly, truly bad man who is not aware that he is a bad man—in fact, he thinks he’s a good man.

That means he’ll excuse himself anything.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:33 AM on November 15 [29 favorites]


Isn't caravan insurance just a small step further beyond the gold investment mania that funded Fox news for decade?
posted by grandiloquiet at 10:34 AM on November 15 [6 favorites]


the study (linked upthread?, pretty sure I saw it here), where conservatives would say Obama was born in Kenya in polls, but accurately identify Hawaii when money was on the line

If anyone has a link my head feels like it’s in need of a good explosion
posted by schadenfrau at 10:35 AM on November 15 [5 favorites]


Lana Marks, Handbag Designer, is the 4th Mar-a-Lago member that Trump Nominated for Ambassador
posted by growabrain at 10:59 AM on November 15 [4 favorites]


I wonder, will Old Glory be offering this caravan insurance as a rider to my existing policy?
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 11:04 AM on November 15 [14 favorites]


rapture insurance

I've been thinking a lot lately about how nice it would be if all those redhats did get raptured and left us behind. It might be our only way out of this mess.
posted by M-x shell at 11:12 AM on November 15 [8 favorites]


No ruling until Friday in Acosta case.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:12 AM on November 15 [1 favorite]


Fox News's Jason Donner relays Lindsey Graham's cover for Trump's new AAG:
Acting AG Matt Whitaker met w/Lindsey Graham this afternoon at Graham’s office.
Graham: “when it comes to the Mueller investigation I am very confident he will handle it professionally” & Whitaker “believed he did not have a reason to recuse himself legally or factually.”
NBC's Frank Thorp has more:
Sen @LindseyGrahamSC just met with Acting AG Whitaker on Capitol Hill.

Q: Did Whitaker express any concerns about the Mueller investig?

GRAHAM: “Not at all, he said as far as he knows—no, not at all, he’s seen nothing out of bounds or no concerns at all about Mister Mueller”
Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, Roll Call reports: Senate Appropriators Cast Doubt on Mueller Protections Making It Into Spending Deal—Chairman wants to keep December spending deal as clean as possible, despite interests of Pelosi, House Democrats
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:45 AM on November 15 [2 favorites]


TPM has a note from a former federal public corruption prosecutor about "why Trump’s going particularly nuts this week." Trump and his legal team are working on their take-home test from Mueller and have to choose between admitting that he knew in advance about the Trump Tower meeting or continuing to lie about it.
Now, Trump has to decide whether to admit the obvious, or continue his obstruction and denial. If he admits it, he risks (a) implicating his son in perjury for lying to Congress; (b) incriminating himself in a scheme to obstruct justice by concocting a bogus cover story about the meeting; and (c) providing direct evidence of his intent to conspire with potential Russian agents. If he denies it, it will likely provide an open and shut false statement case to Mueller on top of whatever else they have on him.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:46 AM on November 15 [64 favorites]


Trump and his legal team are working on their take-home test from Mueller and have to choose between admitting that he knew in advance about the Trump Tower meeting or continuing to lie about it.

What's the over-under on "Number of questions on that list that Mueller doesn't already know the answer to"? Zero? Zero-point-five?
posted by Etrigan at 12:05 PM on November 15 [15 favorites]


Which is precisely why Trump's team will stonewall this as much as is possible and refuse to answer anything directly.

And/or cause a major distraction once he hands his answers back.
posted by delfin at 12:12 PM on November 15 [5 favorites]


Semi-regular reminder that ICE has illegally detained a journalist for months because of his critical coverage of their detention practices and no one seems to care.
posted by The Whelk at 12:25 PM on November 15 [48 favorites]


@lizcgoodwin: Trump is traveling to California Saturday to visit people affected by the wildfires, WH announces

Please let's not.
posted by zachlipton at 12:26 PM on November 15 [18 favorites]


This should go well… Washington Post: Senate Republicans to Plead With Trump to Cut a Deal On the Wall, Keep the Government Open
Senate Republicans are meeting with President Trump on Thursday afternoon to try to sell him on a proposal that would stave off a government shutdown next month but likely stop short of giving him all the money he wants to for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump has been warned by his staff that he may not get the full $5 billion he has demanded for new wall construction, according to a person briefed on the discussions who was not authorized to reveal deliberations.

Senate Democrats say they won’t agree to $5 billion, and Republicans said they intend to remind the president of the constraints imposed by the 60-vote margin that gives Democrats significant leverage in the Senate.[...]

[Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard] Shelby said the message to Trump would be: “Try not to shut the government down, try to avoid that, try to move appropriations.”[...]

At a closed-door meeting of House Republicans on Wednesday, a half-dozen rank-and-file lawmakers stood up to tell leadership that they needed to fund the wall before they fade into the minority, according to a GOP aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations.

House Republicans have agreed to the $5 billion Trump wants, but senators struck a bipartisan deal earlier this year to provide only $1.6 billion. It’s unclear how that difference will be bridged.

“I don’t know how this is going to end,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), said Thursday.
At least @thebudgetguy is sanguine: A Government Shutdown This December? Maybe Not.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:35 PM on November 15 [3 favorites]


Daily Beast, Swin and Lachlan, Even Trump Can’t Stop Mocking Sean Hannity’s ‘Dumb’ Softball Questions
Trump has repeatedly—and sometimes for a sustained period of time—made fun of Hannity’s interviewing skills, usually zeroing in on the low-quality laziness of the host’s questions, the three people with direct knowledge tell The Daily Beast.

“It’s like he’s not even trying,” Trump has said, one source recalled, right before the president launched into a rough imitation of Hannity’s voice and mannerisms to complain that the questions about how “great I am” give him nothing to work or have fun with.

Another person who’s heard Trump make similar comments since his inauguration says they remember the president calling Hannity’s softball questions “dumb.” This source recalled a round of ripping on the TV talker’s interview style and cloying devotion to Trump that lasted long enough that the source glanced at their watch and started feeling sorry for Hannity.
...
The president’s recurring complaints often focus on how sycophantic the TV host can be, both on and off camera, with Hannity’s slobbering leaving no friction to generate the sparks and drama that Trump craves.
posted by zachlipton at 12:40 PM on November 15 [15 favorites]


Daily Beast, Swin and Lachlan, Even Trump Can’t Stop Mocking Sean Hannity’s ‘Dumb’ Softball Questions

The New Republic smartly observes:
The problem might be that Hannity is trying too hard to please Trump, which has rendered his praise worthless. A New York investigation into the Hannity/Trump relationship once noted, “More than most politicians, Trump abides by the Groucho Marx law of fraternization. He inherently distrusts anyone who chooses to work for him, seeking outside affirmation as often as possible from as vast and varied a group as he can muster — but Hannity is at the center.”

But Hannity is no longer an outsider affirmer. He’s firmly a part of Trump’s circle of cronies. Which is another way of saying he’s a ripe target for Trump’s abuse.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:54 PM on November 15 [11 favorites]




- The study (linked upthread?, pretty sure I saw it here), where conservatives would say Obama was born in Kenya in polls, but accurately identify Hawaii when money was on the line

-- If anyone has a link my head feels like it’s in need of a good explosion


schadenfrau, might refer to a popular PontifexPrimus comment in a previous megathread, only without the $ angle? The comment excerpts Amanda Marcotte's Twitter as she discussed Jim Acosta:
This is one of those situations where conservatives collectively pretend to believe something they don’t believe... I will bet they don't actually believe what you think they do. Here's a piece I wrote two years ago about how a lot of people don't believe what they "believe"...

The research shows that people who claim to "believe" false things adjust their "belief" on context. If they are in a "trolling the libs" situation, they "believe" Obama is Kenyan. If they think this is a quiz on political knowledge, they admit he was born in Hawaii.
That Twitter thread linked to this Marcotte Salon article, Why do Trump supporters believe so many things that are crazy and wrong? The September 26, 2016 piece quotes Yale professor/Cultural Cognition Projection researcher Dan Kahan, who mentions a paper published in 2014: Public Misunderstanding of Political Facts: How Question Wording Affected Estimates of Partisan Differences in Birtherism

Info on the data collection method, via footnote, does mention money:

The experiment was embedded in a survey conducted by Knowledge Networks (KN, now called GfK Custom Research) (9). [(9) Various incentives were offered in exchange for joining the panel: financial remuneration, incentive points redeemable for cash, and free monthly Internet access and a laptop computer (if the household did not already have these).]
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:01 PM on November 15 [15 favorites]


NRA Silent When a Black Good Guy With a Gun Is Killed by Police

I won't link to NRA spokesghoul Dana Loesch's Twitter, but she spent several tweets yesterday saying "We don't know all the details, we should wait for the investigation...". These tweets immediately followed her RTing four consecutive "Good Guy With A Gun" stories, none of which she seemed to care to know any further details about.
posted by Etrigan at 1:10 PM on November 15 [18 favorites]


Zuckerberg: I think Augustus is one of the most fascinating. Basically, through a really harsh approach, he established two hundred years of world peace.

me: *endlessly screaming in History Teacher*

@lizcgoodwin: Trump is traveling to California Saturday to visit people affected by the wildfires, WH announces

See, Trump didn't want to disrupt traffic in Paris with a motorcade, but fuck Californians still sifting through the rubble--or still fighting the fires. America first!
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:20 PM on November 15 [23 favorites]


Iris, thanks, yes that's exactly the excerpt/study I was thinking of.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 1:30 PM on November 15 [1 favorite]


Senate Democrats say they won’t agree to $5 billion, and Republicans said they intend to remind the president of the constraints imposed by the 60-vote margin that gives Democrats significant leverage in the Senate.

A while back I looked into the market cap for the entire US coal industry to see what it would cost the federal government to just buy it outright and start winding it down. It was a little under 5 billion dollars, and now every single time I see a number close to that mentioned I can't stop thinking about it as an alternative. Start building a pointless stupid wall as a symbol of xenophobia, or take a bold and concrete step toward dealing with the climate crisis?
posted by contraption at 1:36 PM on November 15 [51 favorites]


Republicans said they intend to remind the president of the constraints imposed by the 60-vote margin that gives Democrats significant leverage in the Senate.

Great way to get around the old "Yeah, even though I'm a Republican I really do disagree with this nutcase" problem.
posted by Melismata at 1:38 PM on November 15


the full $5 billion he has demanded for new wall

$5,000,000,000.00

Mexico isn't paying for that fucken wall.
posted by petebest at 2:03 PM on November 15 [8 favorites]


Texas businessman challenges acting AG’s legality
Still, some lawyers are predicting a flood of motions like Haning's in every kind of case the Justice Department is involved in — virtually guaranteeing that the Supreme Court will have to step in and resolve the issue.

"There will be thousands of identical motions filed throughout the country," said Josh Blackman, a professor at South Texas College of Law. "Eventually, one judge will declare Whitaker not the acting AG. That decision will throw the entire executive branch into disarray. [The Supreme Court] will have to resolve [that] ASAP."
One judge is eventually going to bite, and we'll have a constitutional crisis over who the AG is. Great system we have here.
posted by zachlipton at 2:11 PM on November 15 [20 favorites]


> Start building a pointless stupid wall as a symbol of xenophobia, or take a bold and concrete step toward dealing with the climate crisis?

Well, the answer appears to be clear no matter which side of the political divide one happens to be on!
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:12 PM on November 15 [1 favorite]


> Semi-regular reminder that ICE has illegally detained a journalist for months because of his critical coverage of their detention practices and no one seems to care.

Update: Two-week stay of deportation for Manuel Duran while court panel reviews case
posted by homunculus at 2:15 PM on November 15 [9 favorites]


@crampell: Another 3,815 Arkansans lost Medicaid as of Nov. 1 for failing to meet new work reporting requirements. Total terminated is now ~12k this year. Reporting system is online only; internet penetration is low in rural AR; many of those not reporting appear to not be logging in at all

This would be a fine subject for Democratic oversight as soon as possible.
posted by zachlipton at 2:16 PM on November 15 [66 favorites]


Well, the answer appears to be clear no matter which side of the political divide one happens to be on!

Exactly ... Build the wall out of coal. Then everyone's happy!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 2:31 PM on November 15 [5 favorites]


>NRA Silent When a Black Good Guy With a Gun Is Killed by Police
I won't link to NRA spokesghoul Dana Loesch's Twitter, but she spent several tweets yesterday saying "We don't know all the details, we should wait for the investigation...". These tweets immediately followed her RTing four consecutive "Good Guy With A Gun" stories, none of which she seemed to care to know any further details about.
Yes. It's not simply that they are silent because they have not gotten around to thinking about the matter. Many parties have challenged them to say something in support of Roberson and have pointed out that their failure to do so calls into question their (presumed, though really is anybody still presuming it?) good faith.

Their silence, therefore, can and should be understood as a deliberate statement in its own right. It's not that they have not taken a position on this matter. They have taken a position and it is totally fair to conclude that that position is that they believe it will alienate more of their supporters than it will gain to speak in defense of a person of color murdered by the police.

When Philando Castile was murdered during a traffic stop for having a legal weapon in the car they seized on what they could to avoid speaking in his defense. The case of Jemel Roberson offers them even less pretext to demur and still they will not speak. They will of course deny that race has anything to do with their positions but it requires an enormous benefit of the doubt that they certainly not deserve to look at their actions and conclude that they are not, in fact, influenced by the race of the victim.
posted by Nerd of the North at 2:32 PM on November 15 [60 favorites]


"Billion Dollar Bets" to Create Economic Opportunity for Every American
  • Improve early childhood development
  • Establish clear and viable pathways to careers
  • Decrease rates of conviction and incarceration
  • Reduce unintended pregnancies
  • Reduce the effect of concentrated poverty on the lives of people living in distressed neighborhoods
  • Improve the performance of public systems that administer and oversee social services
posted by kirkaracha at 2:33 PM on November 15 [23 favorites]


No one at Facebook seems to know who hired a DC opposition research firm (The Verge)

One of the bigger bombshells in The New York Times’ massive Facebook investigation published yesterday was that the company had hired an opposition research and consulting firm known as Definers Public Affairs, which it said had created deceptive news posts and pushed them onto a network of conservative websites. Now, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he has no idea who hired them.

It's a daggone mystery, is what it is!
posted by petebest at 2:40 PM on November 15 [38 favorites]


WaPo, Trump’s nominee to lead ICE won’t rule out separating migrant families again
Ronald D. Vitiello, a veteran law enforcement official tapped by President Trump to run U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, faced criticism at his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday for refusing to rule out the possibility that the Trump administration could resort again to separating migrant parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The White House is discussing plans to detain asylum-seeking families for up to 20 days and then give parents a choice: Stay in jail with their child pending a deportation hearing, or allow children to be taken to a government shelter so other relatives or guardians can seek custody of them.

“That option and that discussion is underway,” Vitiello told the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He would not address lawmakers’ questions seeking clarity on how long he believed migrant children should be detained or whether the separation from their families caused them psychological harm. “We’ll get less people bringing their children,” he added. “It is an option.”
posted by zachlipton at 2:41 PM on November 15 [7 favorites]


> Facebook ... hired an opposition research and consulting firm known as Definers Public Affairs, which created deceptive news posts and pushed them onto a network of conservative websites. Now, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he has no idea who hired them.

And when the Republicans promise to run the government like a business, this is exactly the kind of governance and accountability that they are talking about.
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:50 PM on November 15 [60 favorites]


This is a stain on our national soul, one that won't easily be washed away. The world watches & learns from us. We've already taught them the value of waterboarding in interrogation. As global warming & its effects accelerate, displaced migrants seeking refuge will only multiply & the nations where they seek it will feel the pressure. Will they learn this from us too? Have we now become an innovator in antisocial techniques?
posted by scalefree at 3:03 PM on November 15 [10 favorites]


WSJ, Aruna Viswanatha and Ryan Dube, U.S. Is Optimistic It Will Prosecute Assange
The Justice Department is preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and is increasingly optimistic it will be able to get him into a U.S. courtroom, according to people in Washington familiar with the matter.

Over the past year, U.S. prosecutors have discussed several types of charges they could potentially bring against Mr. Assange, the people said. Mr. Assange has lived in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since receiving political asylum from the South American country in 2012.
...
Prosecutors have considered publicly indicting Mr. Assange to try to trigger his removal from the embassy, the people said, because a detailed explanation of the evidence against Mr. Assange could give Ecuadorean authorities a reason to turn him over.

The exact charges Justice Department might pursue remain unclear, but they may involve the Espionage Act, which criminalizes the disclosure of national defense-related information.

In an interview last week, the head of the Justice Department’s national security division, John Demers, declined to comment on the possibility of prosecuting Mr. Assange, saying, “On that, I’ll just say, ‘we’ll see.’”
This is pretty vague stuff, but I sincerely hope they figure out a set of charges that unequivocally separates Assange's actions from anything resembling journalism (say, conspiring with a foreign power), because I don't love where this can end up.
posted by zachlipton at 3:30 PM on November 15 [8 favorites]


These charts show how Democrats represent the growing modern economy – and how Republicans are left behind
Among other results, this year's midterm elections affirmed this much: in Washington, the two parties now speak for dramatically different segments of the American economy.

Republicans represent the smaller, fading segment, with less-educated, more-homogenous work forces reliant on traditional manufacturing, agriculture and resource extraction. Democrats represent the larger, growing one, fueled by finance, professional services and digital innovation in diverse urban areas.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:43 PM on November 15 [9 favorites]


The world watches & learns from us. We've already taught them the value of waterboarding in interrogation.

Which we learned from the Khmer Rouge, though it goes back to at least the Inquisition. Credit where it's due and all that.
posted by homunculus at 3:48 PM on November 15 [5 favorites]


New York Review of Books, by Valeria Luiselli, Alberto Manguel, Maaza Mengiste, Rabih Alameddine, and Jon Lee Anderson, et al., Our Concentration Camps: An Open Letter
This generation will be remembered for having allowed concentration camps for children to be built in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” This is happening here and now, but not in our names.
posted by edeezy at 4:04 PM on November 15 [24 favorites]


The US Army was waterboarding Filipinos so much in 1902 that it made the cover of Life Magazine. I'm pretty sure we didn't learn it from the Khmer Rouge.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 4:06 PM on November 15 [28 favorites]


I wonder if Assange will bring up that time the Trump campaign defended Wikileaks in court. Might make things awkward for the DOJ.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:11 PM on November 15 [1 favorite]


Which we learned from the Khmer Rouge, though it goes back to at least the Inquisition. Credit where it's due and all that.

We certainly didn't invent it, not saying that. But we sure as hell popularized it & not just to authoritarian regimes but also every two-bit thug looking for an edge. It's entered the popular culture as the go-to technique for extracting information from people who really don't want to give it up & that's on us post 9/11. And now we're showing the world how to motivate whole populations to find somewhere else to seek refuge.
posted by scalefree at 4:14 PM on November 15 [1 favorite]


WaPo's Josh Dawsey: “Sen. Lindsey Graham says he met with Acting AG Matt Whitaker this afternoon. Whitaker said he would not recuse himself from the probe, has no plans to shut it down and has not spoken yet with Special Counsel Mueller. "He says he will be following regular order," Graham tells me.”

Former Director of the Office Government Ethics Walter Shaub responds: “We left regular order when POTUS fired the heads of the nation’s top law enforcement agencies, one for investigating his campaign and the other for declining to intervene in the investigation. There is not one thing Whitaker could do in this context that would be regular order.”

Further, Shaub writes in Slate: This Is the Saturday Night Massacre—It’s just happening in slow motion.
But whatever the outcome of Mueller’s investigation, America is establishing new precedents. One precedent is that President Trump fired the FBI director—and Congress did nothing. Another is that Trump admitted the FBI’s investigation of his campaign motivated the firing—and Congress did nothing. A third precedent is that Trump fired the attorney general after having railed against him publicly for refusing to intervene in the investigation—and Congress has done nothing. A fourth precedent is that Trump circumvented the Justice Department’s order of succession so he could replace the attorney general with an individual who has directed partisan attacks at the special counsel, has described publicly how a new attorney general could undermine the investigation, has had a personal and political relationship with an individual involved in the investigation, and has been associated with a company that is the focus of a separate FBI investigation.

We’ll see what a new Congress does about that when it is sworn in this January, but options may be limited unless the Senate’s leadership has a change of heart. Even if the appointment of Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker—the current replacement for Sessions—were to be invalidated, Trump would still be guilty of having fired the nation’s top two law enforcement officials in an effort to obstruct the investigation of his campaign.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:47 PM on November 15 [56 favorites]


>> the study (linked upthread?, pretty sure I saw it here), where conservatives would say Obama was born in Kenya in polls, but accurately identify Hawaii when money was on the line

> If anyone has a link my head feels like it’s in need of a good explosion


It's nothing to head-explode over, it's something that follows from the way we (not they, not just the conservatives, we, meaning all humans) use language. Although we often like to pretend that language is a descriptive tool, used to document things in the world and valued in terms of whether or not it accurately corresponds to things in the world, in reality language is primarily a tool used to effect change in the world, in one way or another. By saying that Obama was born in Kenya when money's not on the line, conservatives use language to bind themselves closer to their group. The meaning is roughly "I, the speaker, am someone who conservatives can trust, because I make the sounds 'Barack Obama was born in Kenya'" when prompted. When money is on the line, they are free to say "Barack Obama was born in Hawaii," because the meaning (insofar as meaning exists) now becomes, roughly speaking, "I would like to have more money rather than lose money. Money, please."

We all do this sort of thing. It's okay that we all do this sort of thing. If we were pretend that language is purely a descriptive tool valued with regard to whether or not it accurately describes things in the world, we would be foreclosing upon most everyday uses of language.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 4:47 PM on November 15 [15 favorites]


Right, it's not that their core beliefs are changing depending on context, it's just that they're aware of what the "right answer" is for a given questioner and are willing to give it when the situation demands. It's the same reason cult deprogramming and treatment of eating disorders are so difficult and prone to regression; it's hard to tell if a subject is making progress or just going through the motions.
posted by contraption at 4:55 PM on November 15 [10 favorites]


yes-but-also it’s not just a thing that comes up in pathological cases like cults or conservatism. it’s part of everyday life. Words are actions first and meanings second (if at all).
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:18 PM on November 15 [1 favorite]


@dsamuelsohn [doc attached]: Mueller/Manafort attorneys confirm talks since guilty plea & ask judge for 10-day extension - deadline is Friday - to file joint status report which “will allow them to provide the court with a report that will be of greater assistance in the court’s management of this matter.”

I, for one, look forward to whatever is coming sometime in the next 10 days.
posted by zachlipton at 5:31 PM on November 15 [26 favorites]


These charts show how Democrats represent the growing modern economy – and how Republicans are left behind

Sheldon Adelson, the Kochs, and the Wall Street finance bros were left behind by what exactly?

Really, though, the lower income Republicans that were left behind were left behind by the policies set by the wealthy Republicans that they voted for.

This reeks a bit of the ridiculous "liberals are smug elitists" shtick.
posted by duoshao at 5:47 PM on November 15 [7 favorites]


i dunno: hard to do too much word action without meaning getting involved.
posted by 20 year lurk at 5:55 PM on November 15 [1 favorite]


@jdawsey1: Giuliani tells me this afternoon that Trump & his lawyers haven't decided whether they'll answer all of Mueller's questions, which are exclusively about events pre-election. "There are some that create more issues for us legally than others," he said.

@matthewamiller: This is what I meant earlier about Trump stalling on the q's until he could get Whitaker in. Now he can just refuse to answer any that are legally problematic, and Mueller's leverage, the threat of a subpoena, is basically gone. Obstruction in plain sight.

Love when the President's lawyer straight up says they can't answer questions about the campaign because of all the crimes.
posted by zachlipton at 6:00 PM on November 15 [78 favorites]


If cooperating witness Paul Manafort ever told Donald J. Trump about the Trump campaign's illegal meeting with Russian criminals in Trump Tower, then Donald J. Trump is fucked no matter what he does.

And I can't imagine any real attorney allowing him to answer a question like, "When did you learn about the Trump campaign's illegal meeting with Russian criminals in Trump Tower?" but you know, fucking 2018...
posted by mikelieman at 6:06 PM on November 15 [2 favorites]


> The US Army was waterboarding Filipinos so much in 1902 that it made the cover of Life Magazine. I'm pretty sure we didn't learn it from the Khmer Rouge.

I stand corrected. I completely forgot about the Philippines. Thank you for posting that link.
posted by homunculus at 6:10 PM on November 15 [8 favorites]


Today, I noticed something. I noticed that my attitude had improved significantly since the elections. I realized that I’ve been dealing with a form of spiritual fatigue that’s had me pretty depressed since November 2016.

Back then, despite the obvious corruptness and incompetence of the GOP Presidential candidate and an equally obviously extraordinarily competent, Democratic candidate, and amid the giddy expectations of the Republican Party being on the verge of sliding into permanent minority status, we saw them inconceivably gain control of all three branches of government. The resulting two-year mess has been amply documented in the ongoing megathread.

Since November 2016, I’ve pretty much stopped watching network and cable news. I could no longer listen to NPR without getting irritated. I’ve steered clear of the many political and news websites I’d frequented, and instead hunkered down with my fellow MeFites here to document and commiserate.

But I noticed, just today, that I feel a ray of hope creeping in. Whatever happens with Mueller (and I’m hoping for massive consequences), we are still in far better condition now than we have been. With at least one house of Congress, we can get some real oversight instead of this bullshit complicit negligence and gaslighting the Republicans have been engaging in for two years. With one house of Congress, at least some of the worst laws will be blocked.

A lot of administrative crap and bad judges are still going to get through, but some good will happen, and for a lot of people, as with Obamacare, it will literally mean the difference between life and death.

So. A little ray of hope, today, as some of the cloud that has traveled around with me for two years has lifted. Not out of the woods yet, but I feel much better about our prospects, and eager to get to 2020 to make them reality.
posted by darkstar at 6:11 PM on November 15 [85 favorites]


The meaning is roughly "I, the speaker, am someone who conservatives can trust, because I make the sounds 'Barack Obama was born in Kenya'" when prompted.

Ezra Klein just posted an interesting podcast interview with someone who's studied trolling. She noted that one strategy used by trollers is to game the media. Essentially, they say or do something outrageous for media coverage simply to get media coverage. It proves to their cohorts that the media are fools and that they own them. That's the point in its entirety.

So when Trump, adopting this strategy, brings up something like the caravan, he's likely, in part, winking to his audience. They know it's fake, but the fact that it's getting coverage means he's "winning" by successfully manipulating the media into talking about what he wants them to. This works even when they report what's said as untrue. The larger point is to just suck up all the oxygen in the conversation.
posted by xammerboy at 6:36 PM on November 15 [27 favorites]


we are still in far better condition now than we have been. With at least one house of Congress, we can get some real oversight instead of this bullshit complicit negligence and gaslighting the Republicans have been engaging in for two years. With one house of Congress, at least some of the worst laws will be blocked.

I've been feeling the same way - and let's not forget all our gains at the state and local levels. This will also help block the worst of what Trump and his clown car can do. I feel as if we've come back from the brink. And I think it's healthier to build the Democrats up on all levels rather than wait for a hero to rescue us. Yes! We had a Blue Wave! See what voting, and canvassing and writing postcards and textbanking and every other action can do!

Though a "news diet" is always a good idea. I could drive myself nuts if I wanted to by watching the news all day (seriously, I don't know how people who have TV on as background noise do it).
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 6:36 PM on November 15 [10 favorites]


These House Committees Could Make Or Break A Progressive Agenda: The fight for the future of the Democratic Party is already happening on Capitol Hill.
[T]here’s more to exercising power in American politics than winning elections. On much of the key strategic jockeying in Washington th